Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tasty grub

Have I mentioned one of my favorite parts about this trip has been spending time in cute little downtown areas? The other day I was hanging out in Perry, GA and thoroughly enjoyed their little downtown. They had several adorable shops and as I was hanging out in one doing some work I was even able to join a conversation about not eating meat that evolved into a discussion on CAFO meat operations. It was pretty great to hear two young ladies talk about how disgusting these meat sources are. I was able to interject with my advice that they simple get to know some local farmers that would have good sources of meat. Later I found an amazing little cafe called The Perfect Pear that I would recommend to anybody. I enjoyed the Perfect Burger with an egg, caramelized bacon, some awesome cheese, lettuce and tomato. It really was perfect for this hungry girl!

Tonight Barrett and I made it to the small town of Roberta, GA. We are staying with a fabulous family here that organized a little gathering for B to share with over dinner. We walked into a restaurant that quite possibly had the most eyes ever looking at me.including this guy...

Memories of Roberta, oh so good!

- Grace and peace to you


Folks, we have been passing through Georgia peach country! I've never seen so many peach trees in my life let alone all in one field. It is amazing. The trees have just set in some precious little peaches. I can only imagine what effort is put into tending, pruning, and harvesting from these trees. Thank you hard working Hispanic population. We even passed through Peach County. Imagine that, peaches grow as far as the eye can see in this place.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Tonight we are blessed to inhabit the Camp John Hope outside of Fort Valley, GA.
It is a fabulous leadership center for Georgia FFA and FCCLA. I headed out in hopes of finding a good hiking trail, found a hiking trail sign, but no trail. I'm thinking that it may be too early in the season for them to have everything ready to go, but I went ahead and wandered through the woods anyway. My favorite is definitely the lake view right outside our little condo-like room. I'm presently sitting here on the porch listening to the sounds of bull frogs below, crickets sing their nighttime song, and occasionally I wonder if the splash I hear is the gator in the pond. It is so relaxing and for this I praise the Lord.

Another one of my random observations in the south so far has been the crazy number of ant hills. They are literally everywhere growing out of sidewalks, streets, grass, and the like. Mesmerized by the ants action....

- Grace and peace to you

Breakfast in The Van

Eating normal meals on this trip has been quite interesting. Although Mr. Barrett seems to be doing fine subsiding on Clif Bars and the random chicken biscuits for breakfast, those are not dining options in my book so I've been keeping my own arsenal of healthy travel friendly choices.

My breakfast the past several days has been a lovely brown rice cake topped with my peanut/almond butter mixture. This is the jar that the airport security tried to make me throw away, but I saved its life. It's been so good to me and now that I finally finished the jar now I can get more!

- Grace and peace to you

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Country Roads

Our travels through the state of Georgia have been along the old highway 41. It has included many pictures of the life that used to run along this highway before the interstate was created and dragged the the business and customers out to the interstate. It really is sad to see so many parts of rundown town and abandoned motels along the way. Just change. But I have definitely enjoyed getting to see so many fabulous big old courthouses and such. This one in Vienna, Ga was fabulous. That's Vi- enna not Vee- enna like I always thought.

In the same Vienna town I found this fabulous mural on the drugstore wall. I thought for sure they would have a fabulous soda fountain inside to match their mural, but sadly there was not. Another greatness lost when fast food and corn syrup soda came to town.

Today we found the beauty of a short bypass off of hwy 41, this would be scenes from the Old National Highway. Barrett and I decided that it has been our favorite stretch of road so far with its great scenery and desolate road traffic. Check out some great dairy cows on pasture and a fabulous bee hive field.

- Grace and peace to you

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I got to experience boiled peanuts for the first time in this trip. They were interesting and pretty good but I still think I like the crunchy toasted peanut better. Peanuts make up another great agricultural aspect of the south. Yesterday in our travels through the very small town of Chula, GA, I was able to catch these views of a peanut processing operation.

- Grace and peace to you

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Daily Beauty

Have I mentioned how cool it is to see The South experience Spring? Just the slow travel down the road taking in all there is to see has been amazing. Additionally, we have run into the greatest people. Today while walking, we were offered a ride by two different couples in a matter of about a mile. Either we were looking desperate or these people are just quality. We made a pit stop along the way beside a beautiful pond and had the opportunity to chat with an older gentlemen. He was digging away on a leaky irrigation line but still offered to get us anything we needed. So great! I'll leave you with a few of my favorite scenes of today...

The pecan grove was giant. Gotta harvest a lot to fill all those bags being sold at every tourist stop, gas station, and random road stand in the state. I sent some pecans today in the mail to my favorite Momma because she's the best!

- Grace and peace to you

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Community Syrup

These people don't mess around with their cane syrup in these parts. Had the opportunity to see a fully functioning syrup processing operation on a old family farmstead. One of our hosts takes part in a community wide gathering to process the year's cane syrup. Although I do not encourage the consumption of such concentrated sugar I think the system of gathering together family and friends to harvest, process, bottle and generally share community with others is beautiful.

The old school press obviously draft animal powered is no longer used but the second photo press is. I'm not quite sure what these people do with that much syrup?! Although cane syrup definitely beats super cheap corn syrup, I still prefer the real maple syrup of New England to southern cane syrup.

- Grace and peace to you

Friday, March 16, 2012

Georgia Country

I almost failed to include the big moment we experienced this week when passing into the state of Georgia!!! Barrett was pretty adamant about how we were really leaving civilization and everything good when we left Florida. I think he may be a bit biased but it really was funny how drastic things seemed to change. As soon as passed the state line we noticed that the Welcome to Georgia sign was much smaller and less vibrant than the Welcome to Florida sign. Additionally, the road was inferior and no longer had a shoulder to walk on. Then about 2 miles in a ridiculous giant storm brewed up and caused our plans to change a bit. It was really quite fun for me as I had the opportunity to take part in my very first hitch-hiking experience to avoid soaking my phone and iPod. Thanks to Mr. Ron for the ride back to the van.

Georgia has a lot of pecan (pronounced pea-can) trees. They're pretty tasty right off the ground and definitely easier to get out of the shell than the walnuts that are prominent where I come from. I also had my first opportunity to walk in a field that had held cotton and gain a feel of cotton right out of the feel. Pretty cool.

A beautiful view from our host last evening. We stayed with one of B's former professors from UF. He lives on a fabulous family farm in the great country outside Hihara, GA. He took us on an AMAZING ride through the forest down to the river. Simply beautiful. I joked about how I would have a destination wedding right here! Then I would have my honeymoon back in the forest in their family lodge beside the pond. I'm serious, it's that great!


I got to spend some quality time Thursday exploring the town of Valdosta, Georgia. It had a very lovely downtown area with some fabulous buildings and really cute shops. I am just so impressed with the giant columns that seem to hold up the front of every building in the south. There is just something magical that happens when we slow down enough to walk places. This magic is found in observations that one cannot take when flying by in a vehicle. I must say that even when driving the van I tend to drive much slower so that I can take in all there is to see. This could be because we're trying to be gentle on the 94 dodge and I generally have plenty of time but seriously we miss so much when we're in a rush.

Here's an interesting story about the Red Door...I walked into a fabulous vintage store across the street and happened to hear the lady working talking on the phone. She was talking about how she had talked to somebody and they were about two miles from town and headed to town. She mentioned how she had told this person they were going to have to stop for lunch in town with her. I looked at her kinda funny because I was thinking seriously, she's talking about Barrett. She then says are you with him? So crazy! Dawn had seen the van earlier in the morning and had checked the website and had called B. She then arranged for us to have lunch at the Red Door where Barrett actually ended up doing two interviews for a local newspaper and an independent paper. Jessica really hooked us up at her adorable shop. It's just so great to see how God really provides in sometimes random ways, but we're so thankful for another opportunity to share the message.

- Grace and peace to you

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Southern Comfort Food

Let me introduce you my friends to Frogmore Stew. This is a very traditional southern meal that I recently learned about. I first saw it in the Florida seasonal cookbook, then learned about it while watching the travel channel the other evening. I got pretty excited about trying to visit the best places for Frogmore stew in Charleston, SC as were described in the show. However, we dined on some the other night in a local school shop. Around here it is called the low country boil. This delight is found by boiling together in a giant pot the basics: potatoes, corn on the cob, onions, shrimp, and sausage. After boiling, this concoction is thrown out on a table and gobbled up by all with either red shrimp sauce or tartar sauce. Pretty darn tasty!

We have been so blessed by the opportunity to share meals with really great folks that host us for the evenings. Last night we were taken to a local BBQ place called the Smokin' Pig. It was amazing and included a ridiculous amount of food. This is where I am super thankful for the opportunity to spend so much time walking during the day so these giant meals don't seem so overwhelming.

My meal was outstanding and included some awesome beef brisket, pulled pork, fried okra, and baked beans. Awesome with enough meat leftover for an another meal today.

- Grace and peace to you

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Business Name

Friends & Family in the Blog World!

It has come time to get down to business in regards to my future health coaching business. As most of you know I am studying to become a holistic health coach and presently am taking part in a year long online program. This has allowed me to gain a better understanding of over 100 different dietary theories. The program equips me to take on personal clients and coach them into an overall healthier lifestyle. It has come time for me to decide a business name that will represent me and my business offerings in the very near future. I need to chose a name so that I can move forward with marketing this business. This is where I need your help. I have been toiling over names for quite some time now and feel like I have narrowed my options down to several that will represent me. There are a few qualifications for my business name:
  • It obviously can't already be in use.
  • It needs to represent me.
  • It should do a good job of explaining what I offer in my health coaching business.
  • Needs to be fairly short so people can remember it.
Now as I think about exactly what I will be offering I am continually reminded of my passions. I am passionate about loving people, passionate about eating real food, passionate about helping others move towards a simple lifestyle, and passionate about encouraging people to take part in natural activities that benefit the body. Health coaching includes so much more than just the food we eat and our exercise as it also includes a close look at our relationships, our career satisfaction, and our spirtuality. So I'm thinking about how all of these things relate when choosing my business name.

Here are my options:
  1. Simply Live Well
  2. Simple Well Living
  3. Living Simply Well
  4. Simply Whole Living
  5. Simply Well with Amanda
I know they are all super similar, but please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts and opinions. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. -Martin Luther

It's not every day that I see palm trees and pine trees so friendly and close. It's a whole new world down here. The trees have been so spectacular to observe as I'm finally learning to identify them. I think my favorite have been the giant Live Oak trees with their giant spanning branches that seem to open up and cover everything. The Spanish moss hangs down creating a droopy blanket effect that shades the ground even without large summer foliage yet on the tree. The pine trees reach up so high toward the heavens I can only imagine the sound the cones make when falling to the ground. It's good.

- Grace and peace to you