Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Heavenly Hodgepodge

Welcome to our weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge gathering where we answer questions posed by our hostess, Joyce from From This Side of the Pond.  Click on the link and see how others have answered these questions.
1. Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?

It's not a project but I do plan to get back into my painting and right now it seems like something I will have to make myself do, therefore it feels like labor at this point.

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?

Where I worked, we didn't have perks per say.  So I guess the medical benefits and retirement were considered the best we could get.  And I was and continue to be grateful for that.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? 

Yes, we have been to SC several times.

Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...
Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 
Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?

I loved Charleston and would go back in a heart beat.  Absolutely loved the historic homes and architecture.  We also enjoyed visiting Middleton Place, Fort Sumter and Hilton Head Island.
Ft. Sumter 1992

We most recently visited special, long-time friends in Lancaster and with them visited the Billy Graham Museum in Charlotte.
Ruth Bell Graham headstone - 2015
So, yes, we love this beautiful and interesting state.

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?

Falling-off-the-bone baby back is my favorite.  A plate of these with potato salad and baked beans will do more than stick to my ribs.

5. What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?

To be able to look people in the eye when speaking and be confident when meeting new people.  This is something Dick stressed to our children and now our grandchildren.  Thankfully, each of them have developed this skill, even our little 10 year old is very comfortable and gracious meeting new people.  This skill is important not only because it makes a great first impression, but it also makes the other person feel comfortable and good about themselves.  And that is perhaps the best reason.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Even in times of great suffering and pain, God is faithful to remind us of His Glory and omnipresence.

While Harvey was reeking havoc and wreaking lives just south west of us, God showed up in the heavens over our city last night in a mighty demonstration of color and cloud formations in the western sky.
  The sky turned a deep purple with the setting sun's reflection on the clouds turning them a brilliant pink.
Be Still My Soul
"Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An Over the Moon Hodgepodge

Click HERE to join Joyce and the other bloggers as we share our answers to the following questions.

1. Did you watch the solar eclipse? Your thoughts? Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst candies, a Blue Moon beer, a Sunkist orange, or a Milky Way candy bar...what's your favorite eclipse related snack on this list?

I watched the sky get dark as if we were about to have rain and saw our yard light come on at 1:30 p.m.  I saw shadows across the yard that I have never seen before.  I did not see the eclipse except on the Weather Channel from Clemson, TN and from a boat out in the Atlantic.  My thoughts were "In the beginning God!"  and what a mighty God, Creator, Omnipotent Father is He! 

I haven't had a Moon Pie in years, but that used to be our stock snack when we went on family trips.  We all loved a Moon Pie.

2. What are you 'over the moon' about these days? What's something you enjoy doing every 'once in a blue moon'?

I am always 'over the moon' excited when anticipating seeing some of our family and we have that to look forward to in the days ahead.  Three of our Dallas grands will spend a night with us on the 31st on their way to vacation in Florida.  We will see our Indiana son when he flies in to attend his 30th HS class reunion on Sept. 1st.  And on the 2nd, we will travel to Hot Springs, AR to meet a niece and her husband from Maryland, and a nephew from Little Rock for lunch.  Then on the 8th, we will see our Dallas family when we attend our littlest Grand's play performance.  So, I am spreading out my 'over the moon' excitement.

Every 'once in a blue moon' we enjoy eating red meat.

3. Tell us about something in the realm of science that interests you. How do you feed that interest?

I don't know that this actually fits into the realm of science, but something that interests me is color and how colors work together to form other colors, hues, and tones.  I love to see how the intensity of color can change with different exposures.  I am more lately feeding this interest with my photography and exploring the way lighting affects a subject.

4. What are a few things you remember about going back to school as a child?

I remember both excitement and fear.  Excitement of having a new dress and shoes for the first day.  Excitement of seeing friends again.  Fear of not being able to do what might be expected of me.  Fear of the unknown ahead.  I also remember that both the excitement and the fear were short lived.  The new got old and dread turned into routine.  I remember the smell of the Big Chief tablets we all used and having brand new, long, freshly sharpened yellow pencils.

5. I've seen several versions of this around the net so let's make one of our own...share with us five words that touch your soul and briefly tell us why.

1.  Home - this truly is where my heart and soul are.  It speaks to my past and my present and all that I hold dear.

2.  Love - Love brought me into this world; love has given my life reason and stability; love gave me the joys and thrills that only it can; and it was love that saved my soul for eternity.

3.  Hugs - I am not a big hugger but sometimes a simple hug can express feelings that otherwise cannot be expressed.  My husband gives the best hugs in the world.  Then, I love the hugs of my sister and grandchildren.  Big Grandson Jackson absolutely gives the best wrap-you-up hugs of all.  But, how can one possibly rate the benefits of a timely given hug!

4.  Music - One of the first things I do in the morning is start our diffuser in the kitchen and turn on Hymns Radio on Pandora.  It is a collection of instrumental hymn arrangements that turns our thoughts and heart toward our Father.  Good music always speaks to our soul.

5.  Time - At our ages, early to late 70's, time has taken on new meaning.  We acknowledge that we have less of it ahead than ever before and that it is more precious than ever before.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

This is truly a very random thought, and perhaps something that only a Louisianian can find of interest.

On August 29 we will again remember Hurricane Katrina and the affect it had on our state and the lives of so many.

Just last week, I learned something that I had never heard about in all the years since it hit in 2005.

Just outside the rural village of Simmesport, Louisiana are the remains of an experiment that went terribly wrong.

"Known to residents and locals as Canadaville, a 920-acre property in rural Louisiana developed by Canadian billionaire auto parts maker Frank Stronach. He relocated families displaced by Hurricane Katrina to 49 mobile homes he put on this property, hoping to create a utopia that could depend at least partially on organic farming. Across the road from Canadaville is the Avoyelles Parish Port on the Atchafalaya River."  Ben Depp for Newsweek

 There are as many different takes on Canadaville as there are people to tell them.

Some say, it was a noble humanitarian effort to save displaced lives after the storm.  Some say, it was an ill-conceived attempt to provide corporate share profits.  Others will tell you that it was unsuccessful because of racial issues and a prejudiced Simmesport mayor and residents.  You will also hear that it was doomed from the beginning because "that element" doesn't want to work.  And I also heard that it was a political scheme to relocate the destroyed New Orleans Port to Avoyelles Parish for personal financial gain.

To some degree, probably all of these are true.  Whatever happened and for whatever reason, Canadaville is now pretty much abandoned and a ghost town along the Atchafalaya River.
After five years, the experiment ended and the few remaining residents were told they had to leave.  Many of them went back to New Orleans to start over.
 There are not only empty trailer homes, but a vacant playground, garden plots, and community center.
 What sounded like a beautiful vision in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the desire to not only introduce quick relief but also solve endemic inner-city problems by bringing people back to the land, in many ways was just that.  But, it was also a misguided vision. In the long and troubled history of development aid projects, Canadaville may be one of the strangest.
It has now been taken over by the Port of Avoyelles and is perhaps the most well maintained ghost town in the country.
There was an interesting article in a 2015 Newsweek Magazine about Canadaville that can be found HERE.

Another interesting article published by the CBC News can be found HERE

Monday, August 21, 2017

Beauty in the Abandoned

I recently added pictures to a Facebook group of which I am a member.  It is only for photos of abandoned properties in my state.  These pictures were of houses and buildings in a small village that truly time has left behind.
 I prefaced the pictures with a statement that there can be found a sad beauty in abandoned things when nature is left to claim its hold.
 Some one commented that there can be no beauty found in something so disgusting.

I find this to be the reality of many people.  However, I chose to find something appealing through the eye of my camera lens of something otherwise seen as disgusting.  It is truly sad what has been allowed to happen to so many of our small towns and even parts of our largest cities.  And these dilapidated properties also speak to the many dilapidated lives of those also left behind.

I trust you can find some beauty in the abandoned as I have without judging what brought it about.
 This is an old Railroad Draw Bridge with the center section raised, that spans the Atchafalaya River in south Louisiana.
There is beauty all around us, let us seek it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.

I hope they do.  I would hope that my life exhibits to others what I believe in and profess.  My prayer is that others would see Jesus in me each day.  But, to be honest, I know there are and have been many times that was not the reality.

2. Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?

Most recently it would have to be sick as a dog.  I awoke this morning feeling dizzy, so woozy I couldn't hold my head up and nauseous.  I finally lost everything I'd eaten for two days, and now feel a wee bit better.  Just hope I'm up to making the three and a half hour drive I have for the afternoon.

3. Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite

There is not one.

4. What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?

Market my paintings

5. August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.

I am not a joke teller and can't think of one I've heard.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Last Wednesday I wrote that our GRANDEST Moment this month was yet to happen.  Three of our Dallas Grands came for the weekend.  And Grand it was!

On Saturday, we went to Natchitoches, the oldest permanent French settlement in Louisiana and voted the #1 small town in America.
We began with a horse-drawn carriage tour of the town.  They loved seeing the old homes and hearing a lot of the history.  Did you know this is where the movie "Steel Magnolia" was filmed?
 And, we introduced them to the famous Natchitoches Meat Pie.
 This was just one of the beautiful buildings and courtyard.
A short rain shower stopped us in this lovely entry.

We sampled Cajun coffees, oils, and dip mixtures in one cute little shop.  We toured the oldest hardware store still owned and operated by the same family, five generations, in America, before treating ourselves to floats and cups of ice cream.

After all that, no one was ready for the Cajun food we went there to eat, so we ordered large Seafood Sampler plates and bowls of gumbo and crayfish ettoufee to take home.  We ended this fun-filled day with a game of Mexican Train and lots of laughs.

On Sunday, we had an even GRANDER moment when our son and his family met us for lunch as they were passing through on their way back home to Indiana.
There is nothing GRANDER than having family together and seeing these cousins love on each other.
This truly was a God ordained GRAND MOMENT!

Linking with all the other Wednesday Hodgepodgers HERE.

Monday, August 14, 2017

From the Ashes

 $80M Malibu Castle Rises From the Ashes and Sets Pricing Record

 Malibu Castle was a local landmark for years.

It's a location with a storied background. Other than the pier, the former Malibu Castle was the town's most prominent man-made landmark. Folks could gaze up the hills from Malibu's town center and see the towers, turrets, and flags. The parties on the property were also epic—until a devastating fire burned the place to the ground in 2007.

Former New York socialite Lilly Lawrence narrowly escaped being burned to death when one of a string of Southern California wild land fires destroyed her $17 million castle.


The 67-year-old millionairess said she didn't realize the wind-whipped blaze was at the doorstep of her 6,256-square-foot Malibu Hills home until a friend called from New York to tell her.

 Lawrence's mansion was among at least 23 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed in the fires.

Lawrence's six-bedroom mansion resembling a 13th century Scottish castle, had appeared in "Fantasy Island" and "The Rockford Files."

Her priceless Elvis Presley memorabilia collection, including one of the King's cars, was lost.

It was reported that "The loss is way up in the double-digit millions." She also lost countless heirlooms from her father, Reza Fallah, once the oil minister for the Shah of Iran.

The land lay untouched for several years until a realtor took interest.  After the fire, the land was listed for $17 million, but after more than a year of negotiations, an offer of $9.7 million was accepted by the previous owner, philanthropist and “princess” Lilly Lawrence.

Now, a jaw-dropping estate has been built on the site of the iconic Malibu Castle and is priced at $80 million.

According to the listing, it is "the highest price ever for an estate in this coveted beach community.
 120-foot-long great room 120-foot-long great room

Deck with a view
Deck with a view

Owner/Builder, Gillen said, "I tripled my original building budget and went all in. The house has been complicated to build."

This compound on a hill contains two large structures. The 10,500-square-foot main residence has five bedrooms and six bathrooms. It features a 120-foot-long great room with ocean views. A custom teak dining table parallels the 75-foot-long infinity pool.

And as the ultimate luxury amenity, one year of concierge service is included in the purchase price. The service will ensure the residence is fully stocked to your culinary tastes 

 75-foot-infinity pool 75-foot-infinity pool

Master bath with black walnut soaker tub and a view
Master bath with black walnut soaker tub and a view
Custom teak dining table
Custom teak dining table

There's a detached 4,000-square-foot guesthouse, which features a great room, kitchen, gym, spa, two bedrooms, and four bathrooms. Both structures have floor-to-ceiling walls of glass to take in the spectacular views.

Two main structures in the new Malibu Castle compound
Two main structures in the new Malibu Castle compound

With a home like this can you ever imagine wanting to leave.  And for a whole year, you just simply see to it that the concierge service delivers whatever your heart desires.
Watch the sunset and sunrise from this modern castle.
Watch the sunset and sunrise from this modern castle
Linking with Amaze Me Monday