Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Special Day

Halloween is my least favorite holiday, but the date, October 31st, is very special to me.

On October 31, 1943, 69 years ago today, Halloween fell on a Sunday, and at 9:30 a.m., between Sunday School and church, my parents were married at the First Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana. And from that day forward, they have honored and fulfilled their wedding vows by devoting their lives to each other, for better, for worse ... for richer, for poorer ... and in sickness and in health.

On their wedding day, America was in the midst of World War II. Times were tough and the future uncertain, to say the least.

He was a handsome young sailor, barely 19 years old, and she was his pretty little 17-year-old high school sweetheart. They were deeply and madly in love ... and nothing would do but that they get married.

Today, as we celebrate this extraordinary milestone in their lives, my parents are still just as deeply in love as they were that Sunday morning in 1943, if not more so. Of course, in 69 years of marriage there were some hard times ... and some sad times ... but their unwavering faith in God, and their abiding love for each other gave them the strength to endure them.

My mother's favorite Bible verse is Corinthians 1:13:7, and I think it exemplifies their love and the life they have shared together:

Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things.

My family and I are so blessed to have these two beautiful people in our lives. They have been an inspiration to all of us throughout our lives, and I hope they know how much they are loved.

Happy Anniversary, Mama and Daddy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A National Treasure: Vicksburg National Military Park

One of the most visited — and most impressive — sites in Vicksburg is the Vicksburg National Military Park, which commemorates the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg during the Civil War.

Vicksburg was a fortress located on high ground guarding the Mississippi River. Its surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South, and gave the North undisputed control of the Mississippi River. The Vicksburg military park covers 1,728 acres and includes 1,330 monuments and markers, a 16-mile tour road, a restored Union gunboat, and a National Cemetery.

I created a slideshow featuring my collection of photos I've captured of the park, and, even if you're not a Civil War buff, I think you would enjoy seeing the scenic views and beautiful bronze monuments, some of which are truly works of art. Be sure and turn your volume up so you can hear the background music, which is "Call to Arms."

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

If you are ever in the Vicksburg area, I highly recommend that you visit the park and experience its history and beauty for yourself. It is truly a national treasure.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In the Path of the Storm

May God watch over those in the path of the dangerous "Superstorm Sandy" which is posing a serious threat to the East Coast ... and may He weaken the storm's winds and rains by the time they reach their homes and businesses.

My heart and prayers go out to them as they prepare to face whatever the coming days may bring.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One Nation under God

In eleven days we will go to the polls and vote for a new president.

For the sake of America and all it stands for,

One Nation under God,

I pray we will choose wisely.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn Fires!

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer ...

Fires in the fall!

Excerpt from "Autumn Fires"
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(From A Child’s Garden of Verses, 1885)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Visit to a Soybean Field

The "official State of Mississippi website" — — lists agriculture as Mississippi's number one industry, with soybeans and cotton ranking #3 and #4, respectively, on the top ten list of agricultural crops (after #1 Poultry/Eggs, and #2 Forestry).

According to the records of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mississippi had 460,000 acres planted in cotton this year, which should produce near-record yields, and the USDA estimated the state’s 2.1 million acres of soybeans is also on track to break the state yield record.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited a few of those acres planted in cotton near Vicksburg, and captured over two hundred pictures of the fields and cotton bolls.

I featured a few of those pictures in a post called "A Cotton Patch Adventure," and if you haven't read it, I invite you to click on the link and read that post before you read this one.

Today, I am sharing some pictures of the soybean fields I passed while on my search for "a perfect cotton patch." Although less picturesque than our "Mississippi snow," I found the soybeans to be quite interesting.

As I said, not as pretty as a cotton field ...

But let's take a closer look ...

I can usually find beauty in just about everything I photograph (except, perhaps, the earthworms and snakes!), and I think the soybean pods have a beauty all their own, especially when looked at individually ...

I wanted to see what the actual beans look like, and didn't think the farmer would mind if I broke off a stalk to take home.

And surprise, surprise ... here is what I found inside ... Beans!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Lagniappe

My husband and I visited my parents at their home in northeast Louisiana over the weekend, and I was so glad I took my camera along.

Mama's Mexican Petunias were at their peak, and her Fourth of July Roses were, true to their name, putting on a fireworks show in their backyard.

Mexican Petunias

I also captured these pictures of their lemon and grapefruit trees, which they are very proud of ...

The lemons were huge, and so heavy they pulled the branches down ...

Grapefruit Tree

We had a very nice visit, and I'm so glad I have these pictures to remind me of our time together.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Best wishes for a Happy Weekend ...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Last Goodbye

I looked out our kitchen windows early yesterday morning expecting to see an empty branch in the Bay Magnolia tree where our faithful little hummingbird usually sits.

I had mixed emotions, knowing I would miss the little fellow if he was gone, but it was 37 degrees outside, and I hoped he had begun his long journey south for the winter.

But he was there ... huddled on his little branch ... his feathers all fluffed up to keep him warm.

I stood and watched him for a few minutes, and even talked to him, telling him I was glad to see him, but it was time for him to go.

He sat there for a long time, perched on his branch near the feeder, as if he came to say 'goodbye.'

I looked for him all during the day, but never saw him again.

I wish him Godspeed on his journey south, and hope he will find his way back to us next summer. I'll be waiting and watching for him ...

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Cotton Patch Adventure

I've been waiting for several weeks for the cotton to "peak" so I could get some pictures to add to my cotton photo album. There's a very small window between when it's defoliated and when the big cotton picking machines start sweeping the fields, gathering up row after row after row of those pretty little white fluffs of cotton.

I had been watching a certain field beside the frontage road of I-20 between Bolton, Mississippi and Clinton, and when I passed by it last week, I knew I needed to go back soon with my cameras. When I headed that way yesterday morning I was hoping that it had not been picked over the weekend.

My heart sank as I topped a hill and saw a white trail of cotton littering the roadside, a sure sign that the cotton picking machines had been busy ...

Sure enough ... they still had equipment in the fields!

This is the way the field looked after it had been picked ...

Not a pretty sight compared to the way it looked just a few days ago!

I was disappointed, but decided to travel US Hwy. 80 going back home to Vicksburg. Hwy. 80 cuts through the heart of farm country, and I hoped I might find a field that the pickers hadn't reached yet.

I hadn't traveled far before I passed a field with a cotton picker still in the field, and, thinking it might be interesting to see one up close, I turned around and went back.

There's just something about a tractor or piece of equipment with the name John Deere on it that commands my respect, and I would love to see one of these in action sometime.

By the way, that's bundles of cotton underneath the yellow plastic covers in the next two pictures, waiting to be picked up and taken to the gin (whatever happened to cotton bales, I wonder?).

The "leftovers" ...

By this time, I was getting discouraged, and was tired of taking pictures of sad-looking, almost-bare stalks of already-picked cotton ...

I had almost given up hope of finding my "perfect cotton patch," when I came around a bend in the road and my heart skipped a beat when I caught sight of this field of white through the fence row ...

I think you can see why we call it "Mississippi snow."

I was in my glory as I stood amongst the rows of all that breathtakingly beautiful cotton I had almost given up on finding ... and there wasn't a cotton picker in sight, Y'all!

I like the contrast of the span of white cotton against the large tree in the background in the next two pictures ...

I truly love photographing cotton fields, and especially enjoy capturing the stalks and bolls up close. Each one is different and beautiful in its own way ...

As I captured these pictures, I could almost feel the cotton pickers bearing down on me ... comin' 'round that bend ... and I'm so glad I didn't wait another day to go in search of my "perfect cotton patch."