Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It's A Blog World After All-Hodgepodge Edition

I've been traveling the past two weeks, and need to regroup before I dive back into regular blogging. Whatever regular blogging means? In the meantime, let's hodgepodge. If you've answered this week's questions add your link at the end of my post, then leave a comment for the blogger linking before you.

1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general?

Many things, but for now I will say how full it is. I guess I imagined the empty nest as truly empty only to discover it's in fact quite the opposite. 

2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?

I'm answering these questions close to suppertime on a lovely autumn day so a bowl of butternut squash soup sounds pretty perfect to me. 

3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?

Question-what's my 'home' state? 

Since SC is currently home we'll go with that. There's a famous book set in SC that's near the top of  my 'favorite books ever' list. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.  He was a gifted writer and I love everything he's written. I give The Prince of Tides five stars. 

4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

I have one or two little stocking stuffers, but haven't started shopping in earnest just yet. I typically don't begin Christmas shopping until November.   

How do I stay organized for the holidays? Just like Santa...I make lots and lots of lists. I also schedule baking and wrapping days on my calendar, keep a basket in my closet to put gifts in as they're purchased, do most of the decorating Thanksgiving weekend, and my cards soon thereafter. 

It does seem no matter how much you plan there's always a bit of last minute frenzy and you might as well embrace it. One thing that helps me is spending time each day of December in an advent reading plan. This keeps my mind and heart focused on the meaning of the season and I find it easier to let go of some of the craziness and my over the top expectations.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

I went to uni in Tennessee, got married in Tennessee, and lived in Tennessee as a newlywed so yes I have spent time there. Hubs is a Tennessee boy and still has family there so we're in the Volunteer State pretty often. 

I've seen many of the tourist attractions listed, and since I love historic homes and have never been to The Hermitage that's my choice. I will say if you can only see one thing on the list make it The Great Smoky Mountains. 

No explanation needed. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

As I mentioned I've been traveling for the past couple of weeks and have a lot to blog about. One thing I will share here today though because this feels like the right space for it.

I've been blogging for eight years now, and many of the bloggers who were blogging when I started have gone by the wayside. There are a handful though I've 'known' since the early days, who still blog and who I think of as friends even though we've never met in person. 

Carrie (It's Not Easy Being Queen) is one of them. While she's west coast and I'm east coast we've both navigated the world of hard working husbands along side children transitioning from high school to university to full time employment and married life. These days we're both figuring out how to parent adult children and best fill our own empty nests.

On our recent trek up the coast hubs and I were in Portland for one night only and were so happy to have the chance to meet Carrie and her hubby for drinks and dinner. As a bonus her youngest son and daughter-in-law were in town for the weekend so we got to meet them too. So cute!! It was raining buckets, but they kindly picked us up at our hotel and treated us to champagne (of course!) and a fabulous meal at Jakes, a Portland institution. We spent a long relaxed evening chatting like we'd known each other for years. 

Which technically we have. 

Sometimes real life friends freak out when I say I'm meeting someone in person I know only through my blog, but all the bloggers I've met have been people I've emailed and texted with for a long while first. It's never felt the least bit shady-ha! and I've had nothing but wonderful experiences connecting with bloggers in real life. Carrie was exactly how I imagined her to be, and it was so nice to finally put a real life voice with the online voice I've been hearing as I read her blog. 


  1. Hi Joyce - great set of questions this week and hope you enjoyed your break. I love that you met up with Carrie and that you had such a great evening with her - I can think of a couple of bloggers in the world that I would love to meet up with in the future.
    Hope you have a lovely week.

  2. I also belong to the "old" Bloggers ! I started end 2007 makes 10 years. As you say many went moved to Facebook but there are still a lot of faithful people like us. Finally I think blogging is such a nice thing it's just writing your autobiography !

  3. I know just what you mean about meeting blogging friends in person. It really is as if you've known them forever and always such a treat! I'm so glad you got to meet Carrie. And see that adorable grandson of yours. I completely agree with you about how full an empty nest is. I'm in an empty nest group that seems filled with moms who don't feel this way at all. They are estranged from their children or just live far away and don't or can't visit. These moms are suffering. While I try to do all I can for them, even when it's just listening, I am so glad that is not a problem I have. Is that selfish? Welcome home! Cannot wait to read all about the trip! And see more pictures! :)

  4. My goodness, you have been blessed to live in some beautiful places. So nice to meet up with another kindred spirit. I have only had the opportunity to meet up with one blogger and it was as if we'd known each other for years.

  5. I have often wondered how it would be to actually meet some of the lovely ladies I call my "blogging friends." Nonnie from "Nonnies Memories" lives near my daughter and we have determined to one day get together and I look forward to that. Loved the Smokey Mtn picture. Looking forward to seeing lots of grand baby pictures in the near future.

  6. Hi Joyce... How fun that you got to meet Carrie. Over the weekend I met 6 other bloggers in NYC. I love Pat Conroy, too. My favorite book of his was Beach Music. Have a great week.

  7. Joyce,

    Your random fillin sparked some interest. Did you go to Portland, Maine? The reason I ask is DD#2 and DSIL are moving to Portland early next month and do not have a place picked out. They can't find reasonable housing which brings me to your friend. Do you think she might recommend someone for DD#2 to contact? Assuming she lives in Portland Maine. :)

    Your photo capture of the Smoky's is beautiful! I just love living in east Tennessee and after 38 years then this is truly home to us. :) Thanks for hosting the mid-week fun!

    Blessings to you, dear friend!

  8. I am not sure why, but this year I am so organized and already buying gifts for Christmas. I have just happened upon the right things and just gotten them. I do need to get to work on an afghan I am making for my granddaughter.

  9. How wonderful that you and Carrie were able to meet face to face! Funnily enough, I also wrote in today's Hodgepodge about a sweet friendship I have made through my blog - and I hope to meet her in person this next year! I love it when God surprise blesses us with friends we didn't know we needed! So glad your trip out west was wonderful - hopefully some time you will come further south in California and I'll get to treat you to dinner! :-)

  10. I'm so glad your trip out west was so wonderful! Funnily enough, I also put in today's Hodgepodge a comment about a sweet friendship I have made through my blog - and I hope that this next year we will actually get to meet face to face! (Now Joyce, next time you are out west, I hope you can come to southern California and I"ll treat you to dinner!) :-)

  11. I'm with you on meeting bloggers face to face. Each one I've met has been a real good experience. Some I've been able to meet up with more than once. One became my walking buddy while hubby worked in California for 4 years before we moved back to Washington state. On the cross country road trip with my daughter that I mentioned in my podge today we met up with a bloggy friend and her daughter in Kansas city for barbecue. Enjoyed your answers to your questions. :)

  12. Blog based meet ups are the most fun, you get to skip the awkward first meeting and go straight to friend.

  13. Lot's of lists, I do that too! That should have been my answer. I do consider my blogs friends....real friends. I've meet up with a few. So glad you got to meet up with Carrie and her husband. I don't blog often but I still love it here. Not the same as Facebook which is where most of my blogger friends have gone. However I am guilty of sharing things there more often then blogging about them. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  14. To do lists are the only way to live an organized life!
    I once met an internet friend in real life. She had a layover at the MPSP airport for a couple of hours. We had a wonderful time talking. Most everyone I knew thought I was nuts. But the airport is a very public place for that sort of meeting.

  15. It is so nice to have you back (and the Hodgepodge!)! I have never been disappointed when meeting a blogging friend in person. Glad you are experiencing the same! I enjoyed your answers and look forward to seeing more of those 600+ photos you took while away!!

  16. Glad you got to meet up with your blogging friend and look forward to hearing about your travels. I'm also a list maker!

  17. Oh, yes, the Great Smokies, I've spent many happy hours in that area for sure. I know you are enjoying that sweet little boy and I look forward to hearing about your visit. I've met 3 blogging friends thus far and they were all 3 such great experiences and I look forward to more in the future. Enjoy the rest of your visit!

  18. One of these days I am going to join you on your Hodgepodge! I have been saying it forever!

    You and Carrie are two of my favorites! I know the two of you (and husbands) had a great time together!

  19. Welcome back! Great questions and i particularly like the idea you mentioned in answer advent reading plan sounds like a great idea. How wonderful it was to have been able to meet up with your long time blogging friend! I know exactly what you are talking about...I have only met one blogging friend so far and it was just like you said, you feel like you have personally known them for years. Have a blessed weekend!

  20. I've heard of The Prince of Tides, but have never read it.

    Those mountains are absolute proof that Heavenly Father is a Master Artist. :) Beautiful photo, Joyce!

    How wonderful that you got to meet your blogger friend Carrie. I understand the concerns some folks have, but sometimes you just know everything is going to be okay. And, aside from that, you had your husband with you. He wasn't going to let anything happen to you. :) I'm glad that you had a great time with her and her family.

    Have a blessed week!