awake my soul.

It’s hard for me to put into words how refreshing it is to be out in nature and set the world aside. I find it’s like a cleansing. I make the choice to release my day-to-day stress, and really get in touch with who I am, and the Lord who made me.

I find it awakens my soul every time.

Last year my Dad and I began a tradition. The two of us went down to Stearns, Kentucky where my 94 years-young grandmother lives. My Dad ran through those woods and hills to his heart’s content as a young boy. Since as long as I can remember, I run around in the same woods, each time trying to envision what things looked like, felt like….trying to view it through his eyes. Appreciation of nature is like breathing to most my family. Perhaps it’s the bit of Native American blood running in our veins….I like to think so.

We call our Spring trip, “Trout and Trillium.” Our goal is to hunt for rare wildflowers and perhaps fish in some of the Midwest’s most beautiful streams. This year my Dad’s brother, and my baby sister came with us. We found the water too murky and high due to massive rains, and after a day or so of wildflower hunting we realized (to our dismay) that we were about a week off. They had returned to the ground to rest for another year.

I didn’t mind. There was still so much beauty to see. As is the case in any given situation, you just have to make the choice to open your eyes.

I told Ashley this is where I would like to renew my vows with Brett.  It’s the PERFECT wedding isle, don’t you think?;)

Below is a stream-side graveyard covered in wildflowers, where some of my ancestors are buried.

The entrance to Yahoo Falls was shut down due to damage from falling trees during the storms. We politely ignored the warning.

Since fishing was out due to high water we decided to shoot. Guns, and cameras. I tell ya, this was all out tomboy weekend for me and Ash. But being raised country girls, we were right at home.

Ignore our greasy, no make-up, “we really need a shower” faces….instead check out our beautiful little Grandma. She is red hot spunky and precious as could be. I’m so thankful for her.

Daddy, Uncle Bear and Ash… was a great time, even with the minor disappointments. Can’t wait to do it again next year, and the year after.

P.S. I must give credit to my sister for some shots on here. I brought her a camera and gave her no option but to shoot. And she’s good.;)

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June 3, 2011 - 11:17 am

Barb - Absolutely beautiful! Love!

June 3, 2011 - 11:21 am

Yo mama - I love family traditions…..
I love my family.
And I love the pics!

June 3, 2011 - 11:33 am

Jen Hauer - I just love the Wallace/Zwolinski families and especially that red hot spunky grandma of yours! Great pics and great writing, as always :)

June 3, 2011 - 11:53 am

William R. Wallace - It is always a happy holiday to be with my baby girls. In spite of the bad conditions, we had a great time, got some great pictures, and learned a little more about ourselves and who we really are deep inside. By next year, we’ll have this thing perfected. I’m already planning—be ready.

June 3, 2011 - 11:55 am

Gail - Oooh..thanks for this Jess. A nice little “get-away” at my desk on this Friday afternoon. I’m right there with ya on bein’ raised a country girl. I love days where you get to slip into your past like this. And getting to fire a gun? EVEN BETTER!

PS – Adore that shot of you and your baby sis

PPS – You KNOW we love your g-ma!!! Cherish every minute you still have with her!

June 3, 2011 - 11:55 am

Amber - I love this post!! What pretty sisters!

June 3, 2011 - 2:08 pm

Stephanie Lyell - I love this post! I’ve lived in Kentucky for the past two years, and I love this time of year here. What a wonderful tradition :)

June 4, 2011 - 1:02 pm

nelly - great post – beautiful pictures.

June 4, 2011 - 1:57 pm

Lindsey - I am on the verge of obsession with your site. I check back often and I am never dissapointed by what I see. I admire the way you see the world. You capture the beauty of this place and the people in it magically. This last post is no exception. These images are so beautiful. Thanks so much, you brought a moment of peace to my crazy day.

June 4, 2011 - 7:43 pm

Shannon Selim - It’s so good to see your sis’s face!

There’s a little of beautiful things in here God made! :)

June 5, 2011 - 8:16 am

george pahountis - beautiful places! It has been a long time since I was there!

June 5, 2011 - 10:17 am

Rachel B. - Oh! I love the mountain laurel, graveyard, wooded trail and waterfall photos! But especially the one in the graveyard! The saturation of the colors is so beautiful. And y’all are just gorgeous even without taking a shower! Your grandmother is so cute. I can see her personality showing. I’m glad y’all had such a wonderful trip and will be doing it again.

June 6, 2011 - 9:46 pm

lucy - i love this post, jess! what a precious time with your dad and sissy.

June 7, 2011 - 2:32 pm

meredith - This is becoming my favorite blog post of the entire year.

June 7, 2011 - 8:38 pm

Brock - What a soul cleansing post! I wish more people could experience the outdoors and all of Gods beautiful glory! Thanks for sharing!
PS-Any post with Girls & Guns I’m in:) HOT!

June 8, 2011 - 11:59 am

Kelly - Beautiful pictures (as usual). So glad you got time to relax :)

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