Monday, June 1, 2015

North Georgia Adventure | May 2015

Intro: If you still remember that blogger called "Julia" - I'm honored! No blog posts all year, and here I am again, popping into your blog feed! Well, it's crazy how fast time flies these days. It seems like the older one gets, the faster the ride. Pictures become more valuable, because they're frozen moments you can always look back on. :)

I had a lovely winter and spring. Some of the things I did (after publishing my novel, of course) -

  • Traveled up to Michigan for my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary party, where I reconnected with a sweet friend named Victoria G. (who blogs HERE)
  • Went down to Florida to visit my other Grandma and saw the beach in November - chilly!!
  • Had fun at the Rock Ranch Staff Christmas party
  • Steadily babysat an adorable blond tot (and now he has a baby brother!)
  • Worked for the month of January at the deli in town (such fun!)
  • Started Trim Healthy Mama (more on that later!!)
  • Professionally photographed and staged our log home for sale and listed it online (Pray about it for me? Still waiting on a buyer)
  • Celebrated my 24th birthday in style with a spring-themed party :) Victoria came to visit me!! We had a blast. 
  • Went to Florida again, and celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday!! Wow! We had a birthday shopping trip and I found a fabulous dress. 
  • FINISHED WRITING the second book in my Agency series, DIAMOND, which is due for release mid-June (eeek! So excited about that!) 

And then... I went and had an amazing adventure and stayed for a whole week with my sweet friend McKenzie (whose wedding I was in as a bridesmaid - first time in my life I was one!)

And this is what we did...

The first evening I was there, we went for a drive and saw not one, but two gorgeous mountain views! And there were blooming flowers everywhere, Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons. Gorgeous!

I know, right? WOW.

And here are the two cuties who put up with me for a whole week:
Yes, there was considerable newlywed mushiness - I didn't mind! Research for one of my novels!! ;)

Then the next day, McKenzie and I mustered up our girl power and hiked Mount Yonah... only the second highest point in Georgia. Uh-huh. And even stopping for breath on occasion, we made it to the rock face in about an hour and a half. Boo-yeah!

This isn't even the top, more like halfway up. So blue. And serene. *inspiration galore*

Did I mention the gigantic boulders studding the mountainside yet? Here ya go:
That little human is me! 

I will never forget the feeling of exhilarating triumph as I took the last few steps onto the top of that mountain. I actually screamed "WOOHOO!" at the top of my lungs and pumped a fist in the air. There were very few other hikers around to notice this momentary display of craziness - so I started singing "Top of the World" by Anthem Lights for good measure. :D McKenzie found it amusing.

Here is a terrible picture out the car window so you can see what I'm talking about:

Ah yes, and here we have a specimen of the delightful Mountain Laurel, with blooms that bring pink peppermints to mind.

The next day, we took it rather easier (My muscles didn't complain overmuch of the terrible trial I'd put them through - perhaps they were appeased by the very rare treat of strawberry cheesecake ice cream) McKenzie and I went shopping in a darling, bigger-on-the-inside antique mall full of unusual and curious things. I found a complete matching set of all the Winnie-the-Pooh originals by A. A. Milne and snapped them up.

But anyways, McKenzie is a master at hair. Even my mid-thigh-length slippery silky tresses. Look what she did!

Oh, and their little garage apartment (which is dollhouse-esque in its sweetness and layout) also happened to enjoy the privilege of sharing the landlord's pool. We took advantage of it all week. :D

And then on Wednesday we took a day-trip (In Kenzie's gorgeous white Camry) to Helen, GA and strolled around like tourists and I took about five bazillion pictures,

The horse-drawn carriages were a big draw!
We didn't try it out, being content with our own on-foot mode of getting about. 

^ That, my friends, is my first cup of coffee. EVER. And from what I'm told it was very mild for coffee and full of cream and sugar and some caramel flavoring. I still thought it was really strong, but it tasted like the coffee place smelled and the experience was fun. Don't think I'll adopt it as a habit, though!

Speaking of the coffee shop ^ It was SO cute, and honestly smelled amazing. (Not quite as amazing as the fudge-shop, but it was a close second!) McKenzie was in heaven. :D The bartender (barista just sounds so wrong to say about a guy!) was friendly and helpful and looked so much like a hipster we were both holding back laughter. :)

Downtown Helen, you were charming. I'll come back one day! I'd been there before as a child, but seeing it with fresh eyes was wondrous. Also walking to Anna Ruby Falls - which were just as loud and crashing and pretty as I remembered.

The last full day I was there, McKenzie and her husband Daniel took me down to an unassuming place called "Panther Creek". The trail was ten times rougher than Yonah Mountain (which was plenty rugged) - I mean, in places we were literally climbing down tree roots and picking our way along a path SO STEEP, each foothold was about three feet down apart from the next.

But it was worth it because at the bottom awaited us a glorious, raw, wild view of THIS WATERFALL...

It was like encountering a majestic beast that just waited for you, and let you come right up close to it. The water streaming through the huge pool at the base was not very deep and we waded right out to the rocks that the water tumbled over.

I actually went barefoot, in the rough-sandy river. Ya'll, I wear flip-flops in the house. That gives you an idea of how free I was feeling at this moment. :D

This last photo, McKenzie snapped of me with her phone as I sat perched on a rock after we'd ascended a branch of the trail that led us to the very top of the falls - I was looking off down the river. I think it captures just a hint of the grand and overwhelming inspiration that infused the whole trip.

More on that inspiration later, but for now - I'm blogging again! I'm going to shoot for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday thing and I already have a month's worth of posts scheduled in advance. So here goes! Hang on for the ride with me! :) Julia's Journal is not done yet. This is the 500th post, and I still have more stories to tell!

Love & Hugs,


  1. Julia, I started following your blog not long before you took your hiatus. All the same, it's good to see you back. I enjoyed seeing photos of all your adventures! :D What fun and beautiful places you visited. Also, I just had my first cup of (not decaf) coffee recently and was a bridesmaid for the first time this year. :)
    "See" you soon!

    1. So sorry about that unnanouced hiatus, Paige! It was inexcusable in a blogger, but I'm back to atone. :) Sounds like we have some things in common!

  2. What a trip, sounds dreamy. Georgia is one of the prettiest southern states in my opinion.

    Good luck on selling your house, I know a thing or two about buying/selling/renovating/building houses, and it can be a lot of work.

    Do we get to see this fantastic dress that you bought?

    1. Hi Grace!
      "Dreamy" is definitely the word for it! :D Georgia has some incredibly beautiful places, for sure. Thank you!! We hope to sell it soon.

      Just for you, I shall do a post on "How to Style a Lace Dress" - stay tuned. :D

    2. Thanks! Ooh, it's lace? I adore lace.

  3. Welcome back to the blog world, Julia! Your blog's new look is lovely! Helen, GA looks charming, and all the scenery is beautiful! Being a plains dweller, mountains are always a treat to see. :D I will be praying for your house to sell. God knows your family's needs and He is faithful to provide.

  4. Thank you, Katherine! :) I'm so glad you like the new look of Julia's Journal! :) Your prayers are treasured by me and my family, and thank you for the encouragement! :D He already is providing in different ways! I have no reason not to believe that He will continue to do so! :)

  5. Love the waterfall! This looks like it was a fantastic trip! Congrats on your new book.

  6. So glad to hear from you again! Sounds like you've been busy.

    Oohhhh, next time you want to go to Helen, let me know! I haven't been there in years! Blairsville is also a fun little mountain town to visit, and there are some beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails up there, too!


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