Thursday, June 18, 2015

Praying for Charleston

Just a few days ago, I enjoyed reading a "Love Letter" from a friend to her beloved adopted home town, Charleston, South Carolina.
Low Country Love Letters

And last night I was shocked and dismayed by the terrible news from that city; a young man attended a prayer meeting, and shot and killed nine church members as they were gathered in prayer at the church. It appears to have been a racist hate crime. The suspect is now under arrest.
CNN article

Words cannot describe the horror. My thoughts and prayers are with Charleston, as well as with Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the families of the victims. I have visited Charleston, a lovely city, historic and diverse, a friendly city with a rich heritage.

Please read my friend's blog post in response to this tragedy:
Darkness Comes to Charleston

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Walking

I used to walk. I've had a long history of walking, but I still haven't made it a constant part of my life. I have to make the decision every day: walk, or be lazy?
Sunny morning

In my 20s, when I worked downtown, I often walked during lunch hour, with a friend or by myself, having eaten a sandwich at my desk, thus having more time to walk.

When my children were babies and I was a stay-at-home mom, I took them for long walks in the neighborhood in their stroller, or walking with me, or riding a bike. When we got a dog, I walked the dog almost every day, with or without children along. (We had a large fenced backyard, so the dog could go outside without being walked.) The dog, Scrappy, loved her walks, and could hardly contain her excitement when she saw me putting on my socks and sneakers! As she aged, she developed arthritis, and could no longer enjoy her walks. I continued walking for my own exercise, but closed the door before changing shoes. I felt bad about leaving her behind.

When we moved to south Alabama, I continued walking on the semi-country roads alongside our house, getting up to three miles! There was a riding stable down the road, and cow pastures along the back road. I could hear a rooster crowing, too. It was very nice!

Then we had our accident with our RV trailer, and a vertebra in my neck was cracked.
blog post about accident here
I was wearing a brace for 3 months. I was afraid of injuring it more if I walked, so I didn't. The arthritis in my knees also slowly but relentlessly grew worse. My weight also climbed, putting even more stress on my knees. I did not return to walking for exercise for several years.

Last year, I had both knees totally replaced, one 8 months after the other one.
Blog post about knee surgery here
After surgery and rehabilitation, I was doing very well. No more pain! So, last fall I started walking again, in my neighborhood. We've moved again since those country roads, and now we live in another semi-rural subdivision. The lots are large, with some grand homes on them, along with barns, stables, and a few horses. No cows, no chickens. Lots of birds singing as I silently sing praises to God. Many of the lots also have ponds which attract ducks and geese. As the weather has gotten warmer, I've had to walk earlier to avoid the heat of the day. (Temperatures in the high 80s-90s Fahrenheit, and humidity 80% and higher).

I used to sleep until 7:30 or 8:00, and it's already hot by then. Now most days, without even setting my alarm, I wake up between 5:30-6:00, and am wide awake! So, I dress, leave the house after locking the door, and take my phone with a fitness app. It records the number of steps and miles as I walk. I return a half hour later, start the coffee, and sit down to my morning devotions, with a Bible Gateway app and a Facebook friend who posts the daily reading from Jesus Calls every day. At 8:00 I wake my husband, and we have breakfast together.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New blog

My "Book Reviews" tabbed section of this blog was getting unmanageable, so I started a new blog for book reviews. You can link to it from the right sidebar of this blog, "Fancy Horse's Thoughts about Books". (Sort of an awkward sounding title; maybe I'll come up with a better one)
*Edited to add: I did think of another title: "A Reading Horse"*

I'm beginning by copying and pasting the reviews from the "Book Reviews" section here to there, one at a time, so they will be pretty much in order as I read them. (I hope.)
*Edited to add: I am also copying and pasting my reviews from Bookcrossing.com, slowly but surely.*

Anyway, if you're a reader, I hope you'll follow me there, and add your own comments, especially to those books that you've also read.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Third piece of public art commemorating Voting Rights March, Montgomery, Alabama

The third Voting Rights March sculpture

I finally found the third sculpture! In a deserted intersection called Five Points, near downtown Montgomery. No wonder I had trouble finding it!
Back in the day, 1965, it was on the route the marchers traveled from the City of St. Jude to the State Capitol.

If you compare this to the sculpture at St. Jude, you will see this is the "cut out" section of the other one. It is polished to reflect the person or persons looking at it, to put yourself in the scene, so to speak. (I stood to side as I took this, so as not to capture my reflection. I did take another one with my reflection. It's on Flickr, if you must see it.)

I will now edit the original post, Thoughts on 50th Anniversary to include this photo.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mystery Trip

The senior adult group, "Forever Young" occasionally goes on a "mystery trip," a one-day trip led by the senior adult minister. He told no one where we were going, not even the bus drivers! (Well, he probably told someone in case of an emergency, our pastor, or his wife, or someone.)

We met at the church bright and early, had a prayer and boarded the buses. Our first stop was for breakfast in Clanton. Then north up I-65, through Birmingham and on into Cullman County. The guesses were rampant: Ave Maria Grotto, Ala. Music Hall of Fame, Ivy Green, Space and Rocket Center. We were all wrong.
Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015
Stopped briefly at a rest stop on I-65

Were we surprised when we pulled off the road into a field with a few horse stables and large silos!
Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015

Then we saw the sign, "Rattlesnake Saloon." A saloon! A group of Baptist retirees at a saloon! What's the world coming to?! We piled into the back of the "saloon taxi" - a pickup truck with bench seating - and drove down (literally down!) a steep, curvy dirt road to a cave with tables and chairs and a small building on the side.
Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015
In the "Saloon Taxi"

Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015
Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015

Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015

This was the Rattlesnake Saloon. The food was simple but good, with extremely large servings. (Pepsi and sweet tea to drink, for us) I don't think anyone was able to finish their meal. Everything was cowboy themed, and we were entertained by a singer (country/western). Back up the hill, we looked around a bit. The saloon is a part of the Seven Springs Lodge and is located in 20,000 acres. There are campsites for RVs or tents, facilities for guests' horses, and miles of riding trails. The large silos are "cabins" with comfortable looking beds and furniture, attractive rugs and pictures on the walls. The lodge office was decorated with cowhide and snake skins and taxidermy specimens (a wolf and otters and beavers.) There is a carving shop and a Cowboy Church. It was a very interesting place!
Rattlesnake Saloon/Seven Springs Lodge

We weren't finished yet; we had one more stop before heading back home. Again we were totally surprised when we turned off onto a road called Coon Dog Road, and marked by a sign pointing to the Coon Dog Cemetery! Coon Dog Cemetery

Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015
Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015
Forever Young senior adult "mystery trip" April 9, 2015

It was time to start heading back home, south to Montgomery, about a four hour drive. First, we stopped at a Love's Truck Stop for fuel (and rest stop). In north Jefferson County, just before reaching Birmingham, the buses in front of us unexpectedly pulled off the road and onto an off-ramp. Blown out tire! We don't think it was a coincidence that a state ASAP (road rescue) vehicle was within sight! After considerable effort, he was able to get the tire changed and to check another tire that had been worrying the driver. So, we then made it through Birmingham and into Shelby County (still in the B'ham Metro area) before pulling off the road again (!) What now?? Another blown tire on the same bus!! We got to a gas station with a mini-mart. This time they had to call AAA for the bus, and all the passengers made supper from hot dogs, crackers, chips, ice cream and doughnuts. (I had a couple bites of a bratwurst "dog," a container of chocolate milk, and a Klondike (ice cream) bar, and husband had a 1/2 bag of pork rinds, a diet Coke, and the rest of my "dog" as well as a couple bites of my Klondike bar.) People were getting tired and a little cranky, but some still had their humor. One lady was celebrating her birthday that day. I sarcastically wished her a "happy birthday" at the gas station, and she said it was one she will never forget, "it was a real blow-out!"
We were all grateful to God that these mishaps were nothing worse than a frustrating inconvenience, and not a tragedy. We all arrived safely at home about 11:00 that night, except the two ministers who stayed with the ailing bus until it was fixed. Each of the other 3 buses took 3 or 4 of the passengers.