A heart that is broken
is still a heart.
A heart in pieces
needs the glue of love
and understanding to
put it back together.
A heart that is hurting
A heart that is lost
needs the compass of
compassion to lead the way.
So, wherever in the world you drink Jack Daniels, know that every drop comes from one distillery located in Lynchburg, TN, USA. Yes, tucked into this lovely little town between Chattanooga and Nashville, Tn is the world famous Jack Daniels Distillery. And, as we learned on our tour through the facility, making this yummy whiskey is truly an art.
This is where they make their own charcoal. The charcoal is made from burning the pallets. How do they set the pallets on fire? With whiskey of course. No, not a waste of good booze. If they used gasoline, the whiskey could come out tasting like gas…yuck! They filter the Jack through this charcoal. This helps give the whiskey its smooth flavor and distinguishes it from being a whiskey vs bourbon.
Some things we were not allowed to take pictures of for safety reasons. But, it was fascinating to see the big charcoal and yeast filled vats where the whiskey gets its start. We were also able to see the bottling line for the single barrel line. Yes, a single, well- aged barrel can be purchased. They then bottle it for the customer into about 260 bottles.
The front of the visitors center.
We chose a tasting tour. At the end, we were able to try very small samples of the different types of whiskey:
My happy husband, in his happy place:
The cave and spring. The very beginning of the whiskey. If you’ve had Jack, you’ve tasted this water.
One of the barrel houses where the whiskey ages to perfection.
We enjoyed the tour and the beautiful town of Lynchburg.
I just had to share this quote from Reese Witherspoon…
“I see [fear] as this little creature that lives in my life all the time, and I can either pay it attention and not get anything done or I can march ahead and ignore it,” she said.
“Sometimes I just have to jump two feet into a cold pool and go, ‘OK, I believe in myself enough, I know I work hard. I know I can always bet on myself,’” she added.
So, tell that fear beast to take a hike! Take on your day, believe in yourself, and get after it!
This is a picture of the plant that sits on my desk at work. When I first started working here, the plant sat behind my desk in a dark corner. It was this tiny little thing that just seemed forgotten in a forgotten corner of the building. Well, I moved it up to the front of my desk where it would be directly under a light. It flourished, it grew, it is still growing. It has become a conversation piece in the office, folks just can’t believe it is the same tiny little plant.
Nothing Can Dim The Light That Shines From Within
Humans are very similar to this plant. We grow, we flourish if allowed to bask in our light; and when we are given light from others. But, when a person is stuck back in that dark corner of life (from our own doings or from others) we simply will not and cannot grow. So, grow we must! Allow nothing or no one to take your light away.
The park at the end of our street has saved me many times. It’s my peace restoring place when I feel stressed by life. It’s where I go for solace and solitude when the world around me gets to be too much. It’s where I go when people and things break my heart. I can stand on the banks of the Chattahoochee River and let the gentle sounds of the flowing river calm and comfort me. I always walk back home feeling better than when I left.
The picture above is of the historic bridge located on the opposite side of the river from the park. Built in 1904, the bridge had a relatively short life, being in need of repairs by the 1930s, and then closed in the 1940s. That’s when some enterprising thieves, disguising themselves as contractors, started dismantling the bridge for scrap metal. By the time the authorities caught on to the ruse, they were long gone with half the bridge. So, for nearly twenty years, I’ve stood and looked at this bridge during my many walks along the river’s edge. It’s been one of the constants at the park that I have found so very comforting. Well, sadly the bridge collapsed this past week. Being old and tired, it finally gave up and let go. At first, I couldn’t understand the strong emotion I had when I read about the bridge falling into the water. But, it was part of the park. It was part of the place where I went for solace in the bad times. Now, it’s simply a tangled mess that will probably be too dangerous to leave in the heavily used river.
So, sometimes life feels like that bridge. Do we lean into the troubled waters of life and think, “How much more can I take?” But, endure we must! Maybe we lean into friends, family and others for support. And we brace happily and let them lean back towards us in their times of need.
So, I’ll miss the old bridge. But, I have my happy memories of it standing across the river. Time to go forward and make more memories.
Go make some memories Y’all!
Just me, keeping it real.
Each day we face an ocean of information on how we ought to be, a vast sea that threatens to drown us in information and ideas. But, deep down, don’t we already know how to be our authentic self? Yes, I think so. The challenge is to have the courage to be that real person. But, we must do it to truly be happy. This emotion hit me like a ton of bricks this weekend after I attended the monthly meeting of the writers club of which I am a member. You see, one of the guest speakers was an up and coming young author named Brian Panowich. Brian is his own man, salt of the earth, as real as it gets. He told the story of how he got his start as an author. Then, he read from his upcoming book. Wow! He writes his fiction with the same grit and honesty that he uses to describe his real life. He’s a classic American southern writer (think William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and my all-time favorite writer Pat Conroy.) As a matter-of-fact, Mr. Panowich reminded me of Pat Conroy; I told him so at his book signing. It got me a huge bear hug from the said author! He totally got it and was very flattered. I meant it. He was just a regular guy who had submitted some of his writing. An agent saw it and asked him if he wanted to write a book. He’s now on his third book. He’s won several awards. Brian Panowich inspired me to keep writing!
So, I’m driving home after the meeting and I actually said aloud to the car, “There is nothing wrong with me. Sure, I’ve been scarred in life just like everyone else. But, it’s important to be the real me.” I highly recommend these pep talks to yourself, very therapeutic!
Anyway, I realize as a writer I have to be authentic. For me, a great part of my reality is faith-based (I don’t think it is something that translates well to social media, so I usually don’t discuss my faith here on my blog). So, it may not be popular, but it is me and that is okay.
So, live that authentic life, whatever that means for you personally. Live out loud and enjoy the journey. The ones that matter in your life won’t mind a bit.