Tag Archive | Texas

Back to the Beginning

I had the chance to drive through my birthplace a few days ago.  Does anyone know what you are supposed to feel when you re-visit the past?  I didn’t have a plan or a place to put that experience.  But when you arrive, you might as well see it all.

It’s just Small Town, Texas.  It has the obligatory “old” post office, the usual run-down Main street, and more than one place that is older than me!  The highways leading to it are either farms, crops growing or dying from drought, “fracking” for natural gas sites or oil wells pumping. The land is so flat you truly can see for miles!WP_20150114_09_35_39_Pro

I felt a little warm hug when I turned off the Interstate and saw that “welcome to” sign.  It’s not like I was raised there–only first grade then we moved.  But I am sure I saw some shadows around the old theatre and the original hotel of folks who had lived there longer than I’ve been alive.  Those kind of towns don’t change much.  They don’t usually have a Starbucks or a dozen choices of drive thru restaurants.  They still conduct business at the courthouse on the town square.  There are still a few stores operating on the perimeter of the square.  And they usually have a “town opry” or a “fairgrounds”or at least a “city park” or “town square.”WP_20150114_09_56_25_ProWP_20150114_09_59_37_Pro

Not sure what I expected to do on that short drive through town.  But it did make me feel grateful that some things, like Small Town, Texas, still exist.  They make good places to drive into and out of taking just a little piece of memory.  Most of the tour around town was more in my mind than through my camera lens.  I probably can’t explain what I felt to anyone, but then, they are my own memories. So glad I took that turn off the fast lane.

Back to the Interstate, set the cruise control, and head on toward more flat land in west Texas.

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Is there a town like this in your past? Hope you have a chance to re-visit and reminisce.  WP_20150114_10_15_29_Pro

ROAD TRIP! 2 SISTERS ON THE MOVE

th[3]Over the next 30 days I’ll be posting pictures of America at her best…from the Arbuckle Mountains to the Ozarks; the Smokies to the Appalachians…crossing rivers, skirting lakes…walking Beale Street and Main Street…crossing 11 state lines and driving some of the remaining original segments of the Mother Road (Route 66).

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If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a ROAD TRIP through some of the country’s historical landmarks, roads and byways, maybe you’ll remember some of your past travels or get the map out and plan your next one.

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Because it’s springtime, roadsides and highways should be teeming with wildflowers.  We will stop to capture as many as we can.  

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 Some of the best places are off the main road.

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It’s the moments you take the time to explore an old road, a quaint bridge, a field of flowers, or Small Town, USA that will fill your heart with joy and your photo albums with memories.

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…and doing it all with your best friend & sister…priceless!

Hold on! Here We Go!

Click to hear “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash

 

Have you been there?

Leave me a comment and let me know how you’re enjoying the drive.  Let’s share America with everyone.

 

 

 

 

Wildflowers Are Like Worries

Fields, roadsides & ranch lands are in full bloom.

Texas wildflowers have arrived!

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Bluebonnets and Brown Eyed Susan
 
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Indian Paintbrush and Indian Blanket
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Evening Primrose – from white to lavender to pink
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Bitterweed and cactus blooms
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The scenes look like a Monet painting.

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Wildflowers always surprise me when they shoot forth randomly among grass, rock and hard dirt.  They are a bit like your life being interrupted with troubles.  Neither worries nor wildflowers seem to care when or where they appear.  They are just there!

Does a problem, concern, or fear seem to appear out of nowhere?  It’s like that with wildflowers, too.  A week ago there were no blossoms.  It even seemed maybe they wouldn’t come this year–like something or someone had intervened and there would be no wildflowers.  But they’re here!

Do you think you could learn to see a purpose and beauty in the thing that appears uninvited in your life?  Like some folks, I tend to want to spend some time with my worries.  I want to bemoan them, even show them off to others. 

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There’s another similarity between your worries and wildflowers.  They are right in front of you.  If you think you can just hurry down the highway and ignore them…think again!  The same is true with your worries.  You can’t ignore them or outrun them.  There’s a formula for dealing with both–your worries and wildflowers.  You must:

Slow down.

Stop and face them.

Spend time with them.

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We know Bluebonnets don’t have to face the fear of spring storms, the pain of hail, the pounding rain or the long-suffering drought alone–because they are joined by their friends:  Indian Blankets, Paint Brush, Evening Primrose, Bitterweed and Brown-eyed Susan.  Like the Texas Bluebonnet, we are not alone.

Just as hard as it was for the wildflower to work its way up through rock and limestone, your worries will push through to your thoughts.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing if your next worries looked a little more like the wildflower that comes but then goes.

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There are rules about each–worries and wildflowers.  They are there to remind you that pleasant or unpleasant surprises often catch us unaware.  Here’s another rule about wildflowers and worries.

Don’t pick them.

They are not yours.

Leave them there.

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…And when you turn away from the wildflowers…or the worries…

when you need to get back to your journey…

you’ll leave less burdened…more joyous…

and ready for your next experience.

 

Searching For Your Dream

roadTraveling down a two-lane Texas highway a few weeks ago, I had one of my favorite CDs playing. For more than 40 years I’ve listened to the Oak Ridge Boys and loved every kind of song they’ve recorded. I even named my new car “Elvira” and love to blast that 1981 hit when I’m marking those miles. Oh, and here I guess I should mention I’m a senior citizen?

A little over a year ago, I retired after 48 years of working. The day I turned 65, I said my goodbyes and wanted to get out my map and compass to find my new path.

But I had to face surgery and rehab first, so I delayed even acknowledging my dream let alone acting upon it. Actually I didn’t even have a vision of the plan–I couldn’t see anything there but a vague shape like the imagined face you see in a cloud. All I knew was it would include writing (based on the encouragement of a high-school teacher who told me to NEVER STOP WRITING).

I was singing along to the lyrics of the Oak’s song “Before I Die.” There’s a part that says:

While I can still breathe…

while this old heart still has another beat,

it’s time I put some livin’ in these dreams

…and those words–along with the Oaks’ unmatched harmony–collided into an almost religious experience reaching clear down in my soul and pulling out all my hesitation and fear shouting clearly to me:

if not now—when?

I’ve had that feeling that the earth moved a bit on its axis only a few other times in my life; i.e.,

  • when my children were born,
  • when I achieved a long-time academic dream,
  • and one other time when I made a huge turn in the road (a relationship) which landed me on the correct path.

It took me only a few days to see the outline of the dream as clearly as if the blueprint had just been delivered to me marked “complete and ready for construction.” The idea came to me so vividly and I knew exactly how I would capitalize on the broader audience available through technology. So now, believing it’s MY time, I sat down to create a blog.

Now about that new-world creation called a blog…as soon as I found out what it meant I decided I’m actually thrilled with the idea a blogger’s words can live for “infinity and beyond” – how cool is that? So off I went into the blogosphere.

Then, I had to have something to put on a newly created blog, and I thought about my life. I figured others think about that, too, so I would write about something I knew better than any subject. Me! I sat my feet firmly on the ground…and there it was…my dream from long ago…my challenge. I’m so glad I recognized it even if it was 50 years older now (maybe it was  because my vision/thoughts were 50 years older now, too). The realization was exciting as I unrolled the blueprints; they magically were complete, visible and clear. Thus was born New Journeys on Old Roads – Traveling with Van Hess

Here’s something I’ve learned. Managing dreams involves a little patience, magic and opportunity. Sometimes we walk away in haste tending to the mundane things of life and forget we must tend our dreams. Sometimes we just push them away and ignore them and they seem to wither away. But sometimes they just won’t let go of you. Here I would warn you that not allowing them to develop can often leave you with regrets. My experience with regrets is that they are not worth having; they drain your joy and bog down your mind.

Obviously, my life, like that of many people, contains hiccups and hindrances—but my fervor and need to share it overrule; and I can truly say even with the pain vs the love, the tears vs the laughs, life has more often than not tipped the scales in favor of the good outweighing the bad. If you’re stuck in the bad, maybe making a list of “Good Things” vs “Bad Things” would be a good exercise; and it may surprise you just how quickly your scales will tip in favor of good things.

Since life required me to have a practical side, I lived that way for those 48 years…but my other self (oh, I should mention here I’m a Gemini–the twins) said it was OK to dream. So I’ve always dreamed of not “having” to do something but “wanting” to do it.

Listening to the lyrics of that song while I traveled an old familiar road I’ve been down a hundred times, it seemed as if I’d been dropped down on a new road I’d never traveled. The words made all the difference to me. I knew I would not be ready to leave this world unless I “put some livin’ in those dreams.”

OK – I’m packed! Got my map, compass, my CD, my computer, my camera, all in my car named Elvira!

See you down the road! If you need a little help in identifying your dreams, find a quiet place, take a back road, and let them find you!

Please leave your comments and let me know if you enjoy this content.  You are Traveling with Van Hess on http://newjourneysonoldroads.com

Listen:  The Oak Ridge Boys and “Before I Die”

Follow me on Twitter @ VanHessTXred

Information regarding reference to “Before I Die” BEFORE I DIE 
(featuring William Lee Golden)-------- 3:53 Woody Mullis & Trey Matthews 
© 2011 Sixteen Stars Music (BMI)/Egan’s Creek Music (BMI) 
Administrator: HoriPro Entertainment Group, Inc. 
IT’S ONLY NATURAL” FROM CRACKER BARREL -RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 
Visit the following site for news, music, history & tour dates of the 
Oak Ridge Boys: http://oakridgeboys.com/  
Listen to their song, “Before I Die” on this 
youtube address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN4wdftVgdg
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