Monday, January 30, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!

After 10 rough and rocky days of recuperation in the hospital following his colon cancer surgery, my dad is doing much better. My mother just called me from the hospital and said his doctor came by this morning and said that he can probably go home this Wednesday, which is what we've been longing to hear.

I want to write more about the story of Daddy's miraculous surgery (you can click on the link to read about it), and the remarkable surgeon God sent to save his life ... but for now, I'm just rejoicing and being thankful for God's Grace and the truly awesome power of all the prayers that were said for my dad throughout this difficult time.

Yesterday afternoon, after seeing Daddy feeling so much better, my husband and I drove out to our land to see if the Jonquils were blooming. Here are a few pictures I captured while we were there ...

They are just beginning to bloom, and I picked a bouquet and took them to Mama and Daddy for his room.

We have a few clumps of Narcissus, too.

Although I loved seeing the flowers, the best part of our outing was stopping by to see this little guy and his sister, Avery Grace ...

Maddox Riggs, 5 months old

That picture is more beautiful to me than all the Jonquils in the world.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How Great Thou Art

May your Sunday be filled with
many "How Great Thou Art" moments.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A visit to Lake Providence, Louisiana

While I spend time with my parents at the hospital while my dad recovers from his recent surgery, I am going to be featuring a few "reruns" of posts from the past. Please excuse me if you read them the first time around.

This is a continuation of my journey from Vicksburg, Mississippi, to Lake Village, Arkansas, traveling through the heart of the Louisiana Delta, on US Highway 65 North. If you would like to read the story and see the sights from the beginning of my trip, you can click on this link — Journey Through the Louisiana Delta.

The first part of my journey ended just outside of Lake Providence, Louisiana, which is about 50 miles northeast of Vicksburg.

Lake Providence is a small town located on a large "oxbow lake" called, appropriately enough, Lake Providence.

An "oxbow lake" is a crescent-shaped lake lying alongside a winding river (the Mississippi River, in this case). The oxbow lake is created over time as erosion and deposits of soil change the river's course.

While doing a little research on the history of Lake Providence, I came across a story about how it got its name. In the late 18th century, goods like animal pelts, indigo, and cotton were transported up and down the Mississippi River by people commonly known as "longboat men," named after the type of craft that carried the goods. These were eventually replaced by steamboats.

Thieves and pirates would raid the boats, kill the longboat men, and then sell the goods. There is a bend in the river called Bunch's Bend where a pirate named Bunch would raid the boats. If the longboat men made it past Bunch's Bend without being robbed, they would say they, "made it to Providence." This is where the trading town of Providence was located. It later became Lake Providence when the town was moved to its current location surrounding the natural oxbow lake.

As you can see in the above photo, the lake is gorgeous. But as you drive up Highway 65, which runs alongside the lake for miles, the view is truly spectacular, especially this time of year.

The banks of the lake are lined with huge cypress trees, and it was difficult to pay attention to my driving with all that beautiful scenery calling out to me to stop.

I finally found a place to pull off the road which just happened to be the Byerley House, a museum and visitor's center. Just across the street, huge old cypress trees shade picnic areas, and a pier extends out over the water. The pier is what attracted me, of course, and I grabbed my cameras and walked out to the end of it. I wasn't disappointed.

I shot these pictures with my zoom lens, and wished that the pier was longer — especially when I saw this white heron on the other side of the lake. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll also see another reason I wanted to be closer. Look at the base of the big tree on the right.

Can you see the turtles clinging to the trunk of the tree? I didn't see them until I loaded my pictures onto my computer.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you would like to get a closer look at the heron, too.

And speaking of closeup views — here are a few pictures I captured of a cypress tree that was close to the pier ...

Of course, where there are Cypress trees, there are cypress knees, and they were everywhere — all sizes and shapes. I felt like I was in "Cypress Knee Heaven," as I happily wandered around capturing them with my camera.

I showed these pictures to our five-year-old granddaughter Avery Grace, and she said, "They look like little castles," and they really do, don't they!

I grew up around cypress trees and cypress swamps, and never really thought about what cypress knees are, or what they do.

For the purpose of this post, I did a little research and found that cypress knees are distinctive structures found in the roots of cypress trees. Their function is unknown, but some biologists think they may help in providing oxygen to the tree, and assist in anchoring the tree in the soft, muddy soil.

I love the little clump of "baby knees" in the foreground of this next picture:

I hope you enjoyed seeing the sights I captured of the Louisiana Delta, as much as I enjoyed capturing them. I love that area of Louisiana, and can always find new and interesting pictures there, just waiting to be taken.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Ride through the Louisiana Delta

[While I spend time with my parents at the hospital while my dad recovers from his recent surgery, I am going to be featuring a few "reruns" of posts from the past. Please excuse me if you read them the first time around.]

Sometimes the journey to a destination turns out to be more fun and exciting than actually reaching the destination.

That's what happened to me the day I decided to take a drive up to Lake Village, Arkansas, to visit a huge home decor warehouse outlet called Paul Michael Company. Lake Village is about an hour and a half from Vicksburg, "as the crow flies," but it took me around three hours to get there. Why is that, you wonder? Well, because along US Highway 65, between Vicksburg and Lake Village, lies thousands and thousands of acres of flat, fertile, Louisiana Delta lands, stretching as far as the eye can see ...

And there are about that many pictures just waiting to be taken along the way.

The highway is flat and, for the most part, straight, and you pass through communities and towns with names like Panola, Shelburne, Alsatia, and Transylvania.

You've gotta love a town with a sense of humor ...

Along with the cotton gins and grain elevators you see every few miles, you also see scenes like these ...

I love the observation tower located on the grounds of this sprawling Delta estate (near Alsatia, Louisiana) ...

I can just imagine the view from its windows ...

These headstones in a private family cemetery have always fascinated me.

I first saw them last summer on a trip through the area, and they were barely visible above the sea of lush green cotton ...

And speaking of things I saw on my trip last summer — I also visited with these little guys, or, perhaps, some of their cousins.

They were just as friendly this time, and seemed to be smiling for the camera.

Aren't they sweet!

I love silos, and there are an abundance of them to be found in the Delta. Throw in an old barn and oak tree, and you have a photo opportunity that no photographer could resist.

One of the prettiest towns you pass through on Highway 65, is the town of Lake Providence, Louisiana.

Highway 65 meanders through the center of town, then follows alongside the beautiful cypress-lined Lake Providence for several miles.

I'm going to end today's journey here, and will continue it in my next post, with some closeup photos of this gorgeous lake. I hope you will join me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lagniappe on The Natchez Trace

[While I spend time with my parents at the hospital as my dad recovers from his recent surgery, I am going to be featuring a few "reruns" of posts from the past. Please excuse me if you read them the first time around.]

The Natchez Trace Parkway runs from Natchez, Mississippi, to just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, a distance of 444 miles. It is a beautiful and relaxing drive and, living in Mississippi, we take advantage of its beauty any time we can.

On a trip home from a visit to Tennessee, a couple of years ago, we entered the Trace from Tennessee Highway 64, between Lawrenceburg and Waynesboro, Tennessee. A few miles down the Trace, we stopped at a rest area (Glenrock Branch at Mile Marker 364.5), and were delighted to see a little creek meandering its way between high limestone bluffs. I was absolutely thrilled, and couldn't wait to capture it all with my camera (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like).

There were several picnic tables at water's edge, and I can just picture it in the spring and summertime, with children wading in the creek while their parents enjoy the tranquility and beautiful scenery.

I loved this natural rock formation which looked, to me, like a picnic table made by God, with its tablecloth of bright green moss. Isn't it awesome!

This is another place I'm going to add to my "Go-Back-in-the-Spring-to-Photograph" List. I can just imagine redbuds and dogwoods in full bloom along the creek.

There are scenes like this all along the Natchez Trace, some of them visible from the road and some you have to look for ... but, believe me, they are well worth taking the time to see. If you live near the Trace or are planning a trip somewhere along its route, I hope you will take some time to explore it for yourself. It is such a beautiful and relaxing way to travel.