About

Hi, I’m Beth, and I’m happy to say that I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  Most of my early life was spent as a preacher’s daughter in Eastern North Carolina, but I always felt most at home in the Appalachians.  So, four years ago, my family and I followed our hearts west.  As they say, I wasn’t born here, but I got here as quick as I could.

I’m married, with two children, who, if I may say so, are simply the most extraordinary children ever.  My youngest just left for college.  Empty nest?  Are you kidding?  They might be gone, but their stuff isn’t.  Books, papers, art supplies, computer parts, amps, guitars—I am still surrounded by the remnants of my children’s lives.  But I don’t really mind.  Truth is—I’m not quite ready to completely let go.

My abiding interests and passions—besides raising my children—are reading, hiking, porch sitting, and trying to grow a little every day in my spiritual life.   I have been a secretary, library assistant, and a janitor.  My husband is a carpenter and handyman.  And both of us want to write.

I used to write.  Poetry, essays, fiction—even made a bit of money at it—but the past twenty years have been hard ones.  They’ve taken a toll, and I’ve lost something.  Oh sure, I still write, but it comes hard.  That’s why I started this blog—to see if I can find what I lost and to see if I can ever hope to become a real writer again.

Thanks for reading.  I appreciate it.

November, 2013–An Update on Our Lives

So much has changed since I wrote the above six years ago (in 2007) that I thought a brief update might be in order.

Some of the changes were good.  Our aforementioned progeny,  Ariel and Benjamin, graduated from college with honors.  We are especially proud of that since Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and I only managed to make it through high school, but dreamed of better things for our children. We are grateful to see those better things come to pass.  In addition, Ariel got married soon after graduating to a fellow UNC-CH graduate, Cameron.  He is a fine young man, and he clearly loves our daughter…and she, him.

In other good news:  as I had hoped, writing on my blog helped me find my muse, so that I began to get published and even managed to make money at it again.  Many thanks to my blog readers for all those kind comments about my writing that encouraged me and made me believe that maybe I really am a writer after all.

But there was bad news, too, and plenty of it.  No need to reprise it all, but the latest has been my diagnosis with breast cancer.  After a bi-lateral mastectomy and other treatment, I’m just beginning to feel some semblance of normal.  Whatever that is.  It is certainly, without a doubt, a new normal, and adjustment is an on-going thing.

But so is life.  And so it goes.  I am thankful to be alive and mindful of my blessings.  I am so grateful that my children seem to be happy and thriving.  I’m always proud when people say nice things to me about my children, but what makes me happiest is when people tell me they are kind.

I think there is nothing—nothing— more important than kindness.  And there is nothing that pleases me more than seeing my children manifest it in their lives.  May it always be so.

40 Responses to “About”

  1. SchoolmasterP@gmail.com Says:

    Hi Beth – After your nice comment on my blog I wandered over here to yours. Looks great, and good luck with it – I’ll keep checking it out.

    It’s funny – I’m from the Blue Ridge Mountains originally (Asheville area), and have moved to eastern-central NC, and you have done the opposite! I love both areas, but as a kid I thought anywhere bigger and hipper had to be better than where I was from. I go back to visit now and really see how much there is to appreciate – especially as more and more of the area is getting developed.

  2. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Schoolmaster P! I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. Interesting about the move from the mountains where you were raised to the East. Maybe you’ll come to your senses eventually and move back West! :) My friend Wesley and her husband were both originally from Asheville, moved to the Triangle for school and jobs, then dreamed of moving back West and did. You can read about their fascinating journey on her blogs Blue Ridge Dreaming and Mountain Mama (on my blogroll). Good stuff.

  3. June Says:

    Glad to have found you – yes, through Colleen! I too am a new blogger – started in August. You’re off to a quick start, and from the looks of it, I’m going to enjoy reading you.

  4. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    June, I appreciate all your encouraging comments on my posts. I’m so glad you have taken the blogging plunge, too. I loved the photos you entered in the fair and enjoyed especially your post about yoga (I can relate!) I’m going to enjoy reading you, too.

  5. Shannon Hodgins Says:

    Checked out your about too. Wonderful!

    I joined a Writers and Poets group and it’s been a motivation to go to meetings. Blogging has helped me with my creative writing as it seems to get my jjuices going. I figure it I can get my mojo going on blogs then I can just keep on hammering out what’s inside my head. Shannon

  6. Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    Shannon, thanks for visiting and for all your kind comments. You are so right about blogging getting your juices going. I am gratified to find that happening with me already. If nothing else, it gives me that kick in the pants to make myself write! You are fortunate to have found a writer’s group that you’re comfortable with. By the way, I look forward to reading more of your blog, as well. Looks really interesting.

  7. lucky pennies Says:

    I love how you include porch sitting in your passions. :D

    You don’t need to “become a real writer.” You already are. You’re incredible.

  8. BlueRidgeBlueCollarGirl aka Mommy Says:

    Why, thank you, Lucky Pennies. But, as I mentioned previously, I’m afraid you may be just slightly biased, as my daughter. Let me just say that I hope to become as good a writer at 49 as you are at 19. And, no, I’M not biased.

  9. Susan Says:

    Hi, I am just across the state line in Georgia, we travel through the western part of your state pretty often – Nantahala gorge, up to the Smokies.

    Reading your above ‘about’ post, it was like reading my thoughts – reading, hiking, porch sitting, carpenter husband, 2 kids, used to be a secretary, library assistant. I never had the desire to write until I started this blogging hobby, it has really opened up a whole new area for me. I work at home (medical transcriptionist) and sometimes feel isolated from society, so blogging is one way to keep connected.

    I will check in from time to time, and y’all come on over and set on my porch awile!

  10. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Susan, I’m glad you stopped by. We do seem to have a lot in common, and like you, I’ve met some awfully nice folks through blogging. I just checked out your blog and enjoyed it very much. You make lovely quilts. I’ll definitely check back–your porch is a very nice place to sit!

  11. Karen Says:

    Hi,
    I was raised in Asheville, as was my hubby, we moved to Charlotte area …and are waiting for the day we win the lottery to move back ‘home’…you are a very lucky lady….beautiful pics!

  12. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi Karen–thanks for visiting my blog! I just checked yours out–what beautiful quilt tops! I can see why people are eager for you to finish them. I wish I could sew, but I have absolutely no talent in the art of sewing. But you obviously do–nice work!

  13. Gordon Smith Says:

    Great Blog! I just found you on the BlogAsheville Blogroll.

  14. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Thank you, Gordon! And may I say–Scrutiny Hooligans has an absolutely fabulous header (and funny, too). I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  15. Rhea Says:

    A really nicely written intro to yourself. One of the best I’ve read. I’m intrigued!

  16. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Thank you, Rhea! It means a lot to hear that from a professional writer! I’m also intrigued reading about your very interesting life, and (as a woman on the cusp of fifty) I find your blog fascinating.

  17. Lora Says:

    Hello there,

    I found your blog after image googling “windy day”, clicked on a pic that interested me which your daughter had painted, which prompted me to browse through her blog, which led me here. After reading several of your posts, I wanted to let you know that I connected with many things you said(I’ll be fifty in three months, for one…), and I would like to say that you express yourself in a way that is very easy to identify with. I live on the other side of the country, in Oregon, and love the idea of someone like you being out there available to share with. You’re one of those that make the world a better place to be.

  18. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi Lora! I appreciate your kind words so much. You know, since I’ve had this blog, there have been times when I wondered if it was really worth the effort—wondering if what I write really makes any difference to anyone. So when I get letters like this, it moves me because I feel like maybe my time spent writing is worthwhile after all. So, thank you! And you sound like someone that I’d enjoy being friends with, too. Hope you’ll visit my little blog again soon!

    Thanks again for your encouragement. And, by the way, Happy Birthday. You should do something extra special for your 50th! :-)

    Beth

  19. obsidianfactory Says:

    Cool Beth, I came to your blog after I clicked the “next arrow” and it was after my blog. I love the fact you wanna keep on writing – I am glad you still got the enthusiasm – many people give up after a while or lose interest. You know I wanna be a writer and comic book artist though I can’t draw for a million dollars but I don’t wanna give up my dream ^_^
    I’m still alive so God will help me.

  20. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hello, Obsidianfactory. Thanks for stopping by! And best wishes to you in making your dreams come true. Even if you feel as though you can’t draw, you can still take classes to learn how and read books and study the artists you most admire and practice your art every day. A lot of people make their dreams reality by sheer determination and hard work. God bless you as you work to make your dreams come true.

  21. Janis Says:

    Hello!
    I recently moved to the Leicester area with my husband. I have been reading your blog for quite some time now but since I am now in your relative area I thought I would say something finally.
    We were vistims of the wonderful economy in Ohio and ended up living with my sister on Doggett (spelling?) mountain on the western edge of Leicester in October but now both of us have found work in Asheville and a house to rent in Leicester with a half acre. We will be gardening and bird feeding once we get settled.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past few months and will continue to do so as time allows.
    We will be living in a singlewide “ranch” at the bottom of the mountains which is ok with me. I can visit the highlands whenever I want!
    Thanks for being so entertaining. Your blog/journal is grand to read!!
    Thank you for being out there in the “blogger” world!

    Janis

  22. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi there, Janis!
    Welcome to the area! I hope you like it as much as we do. We’ve lived here for less than two years, but feel very much at home. I’m sorry you had to leave Ohio, but so glad you were able to find work here.
    I love Doggett Mountain. We went over it a year ago when we went to Trust and to Max Patch—it’s a lovely area. We even looked at a house up there at the base of Doggett, but someone else ended up buying it first. We like the Leicester area a lot and looked at quite a few houses there, but ended up buying elsewhere. Several of the houses we were looking at were on Old Newfound Road, and I remember thinking how cool it would be to have that address! :-)
    Thanks so much for reading my blog and for saying “Hello.” I really love hearing from my readers and knowing who they are. Best wishes to you and your husband—hope all continues to go well. Happy Holidays! May the New Year be a blessed one for you both.

    Beth

  23. Zimmer Says:

    hi blueridgebluecollargirl..and I thought my handle was long, : )
    hey I stumbled upon your blog by a merry coincidence while looking up a musical group named “Won’t you be my folksy neighbor” and well you may have guessed that it led me to your post which included your poem, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”. I was transported in time, back to my days in college in the rural areas of northern Ohio. There are similarities enough within your words that the sentiments they convey resonate with the clarity of time inside my own heart and echo throughout the chambers of my mind. Although I am no longer physically there, my spirit still remains hidden in the wooded glens of those pastoral settings. My skin still feels the warm sun of late summer and the wind blowing over the expanse of corn as I would stand silently along some lonesome gravel road, lost in the meandering wayside of the Ohio farmlands. Yes, there was a loneliness there, but it was one which gave way to a peaceful solitude and comfort. Alone in that setting, a realization soon came that you were, in truth, accompanied by hosts of God’s creation playing their cantabile passage of sweet resign, conducted by the invisible breezes of the soon coming autumn. That melody plays sweetly in my quiet moments now even though I am far away in time and in space from those moments, from those fields and woods. I will return again, perhaps only upon that same breeze that kissed my face so long ago but I will return nonetheless to take my own place among the strings of time where I will lay to rest my song of lamentation of having left.

  24. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi, Zimmer! What a lovely and poetic reverie! I do hope you are able someday to return to the Ohio farmlands that you loved so well. I grew up in the coastal flatlands of eastern North Carolina, but the mountains always spoke to me. But it wasn’t until seven years ago that we were able to come to live in our beloved Appalachians. It was a difficult choice in many ways, but we have never regretted it for a moment. This is where our soul feels at rest.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. All the best to you.

    Beth

  25. Jill Says:

    Hey there. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for a picture of a “light at the end of the tunnel” for my Facebook page. If that is your picture, then I hope it’s okay for me to use it! It’s perfect for the message I want to convey.

    I enjoyed the few postings that I read of your blog, and look forward to returning. Feel free to find out more about me on my blog, most recently used to chronicle my thoughts as I journeyed through Hospice with my mother. When I have time, writing is my therapy, as it seems to be for you as well.

    Blessings,
    Jill

  26. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi, Jill,
    I’d be happy for you to use my photo. I took it in one of the many tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the North Carolina mountains.
    I look forward to visiting your blog. I, too, have been through Hospice with both my parents. And, yes, writing has definitely been therapy for me—-a saving grace. As has the wonderful support I’ve gotten from my readers, some of whom are now my friends.
    Thanks for visiting my little corner of the blogosphere. God bless you—-
    Beth

  27. Elaine Says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful website…your pictures are beautiful !!! I check your site several times each week, hoping you will have posted something new. I found your site through the Blue Ridge Muse.

  28. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hi there, Elaine! Thank you for your very kind words. It’s always so gratifying to get such a nice comment and to feel like my writing and photography make a difference to someone. I really appreciate you reading my blog and even more so, I appreciate you taking the time to say hello and to let me know that you enjoy it.

    Thanks again!

    Beth

  29. George Says:

    Came upon your site while searching for ‘bird with yellow belly nest on porch’. Your great photos of your wild birds helped me get down to either the ‘Great Crested Flycatcher’ or the ‘Great Western Flycatcher’ as the beatiful little creatures that are nesting on a mounted lamp on my porch here in Littleton, CO. These birds are busy and entertaining. Your photos are stunning, should be published in Birding magazines, books, if not being done so already.

  30. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Hello, George! Thanks so much for your kind words about my photographs. My point-and-shoot camera is a bit limited, but I enjoy very much capturing life here on my hilltop in the Appalachian mountains. I especially enjoyed taking those shots of the Great Crested Flycatchers and grew very fond of them. They got used to me watching them and let me come closer and closer. They are the most engaging little birds. You are a very fortunate man to have them on your porch. I’ll bet you have some wonderful photos of your own.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog—come back anytime.

    Beth

  31. eemilla Says:

    You already are a real writer!

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you, Eemilla—you are very kind. Your encouragement means a great deal to me. I don’t seem to have many readers in the area where I live in western North Carolina. I don’t know why, but it does hurt a bit. But I am so grateful that you do read my blog. Thank you.

      Beth

  32. Nerissa Barry Says:

    Hi,

    I wanted to email you in regards in any possible advertising opportunities you may have with your website. I’m looking to earn support for a national cause and get visibility for the “plant 1 billion trees” project. Let me know if you would be interested at all in supporting this cause or if you want more information on it. I look forward to talking to you soon!

  33. Darla Says:

    Thinking of you and hoping you are well, Beth. :-) Blessings!

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi there, Darla. Thank you so much for checking in—I really am grateful that you did. I’m sorry to have been MIA from the blogosphere for so long. The truth is—I haven’t been well. I’ve been debating about whether to post about it. I really hate writing about yet another crisis—people must get weary of it; I know I am—-but anything else would not be straightforward. In fact, I apologize for not responding to you sooner—I was debating as to whether I even wanted to mention it here. But I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you since you were kind enough to inquire.

      Thank you for that.

      Beth

      • Darla Says:

        Beth, thank you for sharing… Whether to write is certainly up to you, but the older I get the more I appreciate when women express not just what is happening in their lives, but how they are responding to the situations and challenges, even when the response might be a series of inner queries about “how the heck do I deal with this?” Your writing is *always* evocative…I am grateful for how your words of honesty, wisdom and insight call me into compassion as well as inquiry for my own journey. When I wrote my spiritual memoir on my pilgrimage, I felt uncomfortable at times in revealing my sense of vulnerability, but if I didn’t, then how would someone else read it and think “omg, I had no idea that someone else felt that way.” Much love to you. (((BIGHUG))) And always take care of YOU…however that is revealed…

  34. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Thank you so much for those kind words, Darla. You are very perceptive when you mention “How in the heck do I deal with this?” sometimes being the only response you can come up with when initially faced with a new challenge, especially when, through no fault of your own, you are perpetually faced with those sort of challenges. But you’re right—writing about it—however hard it may be—-can serve to help others feel less alone. So…maybe I will. I suppose those who don’t want to read about yet another hardship can simply choose not to.

    By the way, I feel the same way about your writing—it is lovely. I would give anything to write with the same ease you seem to. It comes hard for me—especially these days.

    Beth

  35. ashevilleblog Says:

    Hi, I was wondering how I could go about getting on your blogroll list?

    Ashevilleblog.com

    Thanks!

  36. Ginger Says:

    Dear Beth,

    Wow. I haven’t checked in for awhile, trying to get over, get back to “normal”, etc etc, my own cancer dx and surgery last summer and fall.

    Wow.

    Well, I would email you personally if I could figure out how to find your email! But hope you get this and know I will be thinking of you and praying for you as the ordeal isn’t over and there is still so much adjusting to be done. Sending you a great big blog hug, and I have to say it is ALWAYS a joy to read your words, even when they are not very joyful. Am thankful for the little gifts we each get to enjoy, whether a blossom or a bird or our family.

    May you be covered in comfort right when you need it. And total healing.

    Much love from far west Texas,
    Ginger

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you so much, Ginger—it’s good to hear from you. I’m so sorry to hear of all you’ve been through. As I said in my comment on your blog, 2013 seems to have been a difficult year for both of us. I’m sure you were as glad as I was to see it go!

      Thank you for your kind words. For a number of reasons, I’m having a tough time adjusting to my “new normal.” My prognosis turned out a bit worse than I’d hoped, so although I carry on fairly well, fear of recurrence is a persistent problem, especially in those lonely dark hours in the middle of the night. I have mild lymphedema in my arm so I’m afraid to use it very much since using it makes it worse. The medicine I have to take to try to prevent recurrence makes me feel like I’m 90 years old much of the time. It’s funny how people seem to think that once you’re through treatment for breast cancer, it’s all over and everything is hunky dory! It’s not.

      But, like you, I find more joy than ever in the smallest things. Two evenings ago, Tom and I saw the fattest, roundest, little song sparrow sitting on our bird bath, lit up by the evening sun. He looked so utterly serene and content…and he sat there, happily looking about, for at least a good half hour! We’d never seen a bird sit contentedly for so long. There was something divine and holy about it that made us feel a sense of peace ourselves. We both had tears in our eyes!

      I am grateful beyond words for moments like that.

      Take care of yourself, Ginger…God bless you.

      Love, Beth

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