Spring in the south is a wonderful thing. For refreshing the soul, try driving randomly through the area of Ridge Spring, Johnston, and Monetta in upstate South Carolina while the peach orchards are in full bloom. Every year I am compelled to take that run up Highway 78 from Charleston and every year I am so glad I did.
On a whim, my road trip buddy and I decided to drive down to St. Augustine, Florida for a couple of days. An easy cruise down the I-95, and as we drove further south, we noticed that the onset of Spring became more evident in the greening up of trees and marshes. There is so much to do and see in this quaint and very historic town. Here are just a few of the places we visited in our short time there.
Every so often I find I need to switch gears and focus on a new thing in order to keep growing and keep learning. I have decided to spend my “growing” energies in the pet portraiture genre. I do love animals, and so I will work on applying my “people portrait” expertise to producing portraits of pets. These are some that I have done in the past, but I also have ideas for different styles; quirkier, different, amusing. Stay tuned.
I was thinking this as I walked the West Ashley Greenway and watched all these different species of wading birds as they feasted on small fish and molluscs at low tide this morning. They were all courteously minding their own business as they went about their day. Didn’t look so hard.
It’s been one heck of a year, but no better way to close it out than to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. This day that marks the division of the way we count time, BC and AD. That’s one significant birthday. May 2021 bring peace, joy and HOPE!
I understand that this may sound a little different to Jews and Christians alike, but for our family, the celebration of Hanukkah has been a sweet time as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. Why would Christians not celebrate miracles that God performed in the outworking of his everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendants? After all, God promised that through Abraham all the nations would be blessed. Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and the rededication of the temple in 165BC. We remember the miracle of how God caused the eternal flame to burn for 8 days on one day’s worth of oil, hence the menorah with 8 candles plus the shamash candle which is used to light the others.
It feels proper to talk about these things and teach the children about their spiritual heritage as God’s chosen people. Of course this would not be possible without the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with man. We believe that He is the Messiah, sent to reconcile God to man, Jew to gentile, man to man. In John 10:22 we are told that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, also called the Feast of Dedication.
In a world of chaos and mistrust, we choose to focus on the Prince of Peace, the only one who will judge rightly and establish order on earth. In His time.
They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. Romans 9:4-8
So this year I tagged along with some friends who have a tradition of doing Thanksgiving differently. Instead of eating themselves into a stupor, they choose to hike. The origin of this tradition is another story for another time, but this year they invited me to tag along, and it was unforgettable for many reasons. I think we will be laughing at the memories for many years to come.
Firstly, when we left Charleston at about 9am, it was sunny and warm so we set off appropriately dressed, except that as we neared our destination, Poinsetta State Park in Sumter, SC, the weather had changed somewhat, and it was pouring with rain and about 65 degrees. Determined to make the best of it, we drove around until we found a covered shelter (not abundantly available), and happily spread out our picnic lunch. It was not a minute later that cars started arriving at our shelter and we were informed that it had been reserved for a family Thanksgiving gathering – a year in advance. We begged for 20 minutes grace so we could bolt our food before packing up and leaving. Reluctantly they agreed and started setting up their dinner around us.
Undaunted we packed up and drove off in the rain in search of a hiking trail, only to find that the one we had picked was closed because of the hunting season. Heads up y’all, this place is in the middle of nowhere so cellphone service was not helpful when trying to weigh our route options, and the printed maps are a little vague. Long story short, we laughed a lot, got a little exercise, a little indigestion, and great memories. For 2020, what would you expect anyway!?
This is Brick, a magnificent Standard Poodle, not sure of his lineage but a fine specimen and extremely well behaved. Posing is second nature to him, as he comes from a showbiz background. As I think I have mentioned before, treats, squeaky toys, good boy breaks, etc. are all part of the experience. Trying to come up with a novel idea for a Christmas gift? How about a pet portrait of your favorite furry friend?
If you’ve never watched the sun set behind the Tennessee Smoky Mountains from the top of Clingman’s Dome, just add it to your bucket list right now. Pictures don’t do it justice, you just have to be present to appreciate the beauty and the stillness that descends as the light fades into soft blues and purples. Another 360 degrees, another day.
A group of us girlfriends headed out on a road trip to upstate Georgia in the Appalachian Mountains. We rented a cabin for the last three nights and spent time exploring the area. These photos include views from Bell Mountain overlooking the Chatuge Lake and town of Hiawassee, a barn along a rural road, as well as images from a visit to Anna Ruby Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Tomorrow we move on to Townsend, Tennessee. Most of the colorful leaves were blown away courtesy of Hurricane Zeta as it blasted up the Tennessee Valley a few days ago. Hoping to find some color lingering in the next few days.