Thursday, May 24, 2012

Artesian Wells, Creeks and Downtown Prattville, Alabama

When you put these two photos together, what do you think you get?  You got it, a rope swing waiting for some daring young (or old) soul to swing out over the creek and create a big splash! This is Autauga Creek, which cuts through the heart of downtown Prattville.  In fact this very section of the creek, along with it's rope swing, is about a minute from downtown, and is located beside one of Prattville's many artesian wells, which is actually what I had gone to see.   I had heard about the wells, where people take their water bottles (I'm talking the BIG kind) and fill them up on a regular basis.  But I had never actually been there.  And to think it is absolutely FREE?!?  I had to see for myself...

Sure enough, when I pulled into the lot at the Doster Road Artesian Well House I was not alone.  A car was ahead of me and the man was filling his large, blue water bottle, the kind you normally see dispensing water at your office.  While I was waiting I tried to take photos, without taking any photos of him.  So I ended up taking pictures of the flowers surrounding the well.  You know me and flowers...

I had to try the water myself, so stuck my hand under the pipe and was rewarded with cool water, which tasted pretty good.  Which also explains why when I was finished and leaving, another car was pulling in to fill THEIR water bottles.

As I was leaving I had to wait for the local ducks to waddle across the road.  They took their time, so I took advantage of their time by photographing them through the window.  I was really in no hurry -- the sun would be setting in about an hour, it was quickly becoming overcast, and who knew when the rain would start, and I wanted to take more pictures of my town!

Just a couple of blocks over from the ducks (the well, actually) is the heart of downtown Prattville.  Here I had to wait again, this time on a family having their photos taken at the fountain beside the creek.  I took advantage of the delay and took photos of the creek, the surrounding buildings, and the plants growing in the area.  Really, this IS at the end of Main Street in downtown Prattville!  Our town has a lot of history.  It was founded by Daniel Pratt (1830s) who chose the site specifically because of the creek.  He used the energy from the creek to power machinery to build cotton gins

Twin dams on Autauga Creek, Prattville, Alabama

Clouds gathering over spillway on Autauga Creek

Along Autauga Creek, end of Main Street
Some of the flowers growing along the banks of the creek...


I was finally able to get my pictures of the fountain.  I felt it was worth the wait!  This fountain is also fed by one of the many artesian wells in Prattville.  In fact, until recently Prattville was nicknamed the "Fountain City".

As I was leaving downtown I decided to go over a couple of blocks to the north to what is called Hunts Alley.  There are actual businesses located in these buildings.  I am so glad to see them put to use.

Last but not least, photos along Main Street...


Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Wilderness Park, Prattville, Alabama: Taking a Break in the Park

Yesterday morning I decided to grab my camera, ditch the outdoor chores, and head to the Wilderness Park here in Prattville, Alabama.  I'm so glad I did!  Although I wore flip flops, which was a poor choice for a roughly 1/2 mile hike, it was not that bad because I was constantly pausing to take pictures.  It was nice to get away from the routine for a while. 

As I was pulling into the parking lot, an older gentleman and his dog were getting in their car to leave.  As I wandered the path, I came upon a young couple relaxing on one of the many park benches, kicked back and chatting.  And as you'll see in one of the later pictures, young lovers have left their mark, too.

As you follow the path, the patch slopes down, leading you deeper into the park.  Shortly you come to a "Y", and if you take a right, you will go over the dam.  Above is a photo of the path going over the dam, with bamboo draping across, forming a canopy.  Looking off to the right side of this path the land slopes down into a gully with bamboo and other plants and trees crisscrossing.  There is a lot of downed timber and bamboo, but where something has fallen, more is growing in it's place. According to the sign at the entrance of the park, bamboo grows at the rate of 4' per 24 hours!

If you look to the left of the path, you will see a pond filled with downed bamboo and other trees, and a great many lily pads and lilies.  The water was still, and the sun was at a height to make great reflections in the water.  I heard deep-throated frogs calling, but never had the luck to see one. But I did get a shot of a turtle resting on one of the lily pads.

Of course there were other plants such as the fern in the photo below.  Everything contributed to a cooler temperature in the park.  And although you are only a few steps from the road, the sounds of traffic are muted or non-existent.  Instead you can hear the sounds of bugs and frogs, something skittering away in the underbrush, and even the hollow clacking of the bamboo hitting against each other in the gentle wind.

Have you had a chance to take a break and check out any parks  in or near your town?  I am fortunate that The Wilderness Park is less than a five minute drive from my home, and less than a five minute drive from the heart of downtown Prattville.  It's one of those spots that begs to be visited again.  One of those spots that appeals to people of all ages.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that I have a coupon for a FREE copy of Platt's book As One Devil to Another.  If you are interested, let me know!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, May 18, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: As One Devil to Another

As One Devil to Another
By: Richard Platt
Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright 2012

Have you ever wondered what the "other world" thinks about us?  Do they try to interfere?  Do they try to trip us up?  Do they try to help us?  Do they try to work against each other, as in the good side versus the evil?  In his new book As One Devil to Another, author Richard Platt presents his idea of what it could be like for the other side.  And for us in our daily spiritual walk.

It seems that poor Scardagger, a recent top of his class graduate (class valedictorian, to be exact) of hell's training school is now under the supervision of his dear, loving Uncle Slashreap, a wise, shrewd, very experienced devil.  Apparently Scardagger is having trouble with his first victim, a young woman who attends the university. She is a free thinker, heavily influenced by the modern world.  However, she seems to have an aunt who has great influence over her life.  A Christian aunt.  It has become the job of Scardagger to try to win the young woman over to the side of hell, to prevent her from committing to Christ.  But the problems with the aunt only magnify.  She is in the battle for the young woman's soul.  

As One Devil to Another is a one sided conversation, a collection of letters from Slashreap to his nephew Scardagger.  From his letters you surmise what is going on between Scardagger and the young woman.  As more letters are written, and as apparently Scardagger is not fully following the advice of Slashreap, you see more and more frustration from Slashreap.  At times this is quite humorous, as you can imagine what is going on behind the scenes.  At times it is eye opening and you wonder if there really is a spiritual battle raging over the souls of men (yes, there is!), which is not humorous at all.  

Mr. Platt's book is heralded as being comparable to author C. S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters.  Having not read The Screwtape Letters, I cannot make a comparison between the two. However, I have been a fan of C. S. Lewis since childhood (think The Chronicles of Narnia) and I can see some similarities.  Why not read the book and see for yourself?

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mom's Gift

Following on the theme of Ann Voskamp at The One Thousand Moms Project, what is the best gift your mother gave to you?

Mine would be a life by example.  Putting her family first.  There is no way it could have been easy.  Mama and Daddy had six kids in 10 years.  I am the oldest, and when I was six we moved to Indiana so Daddy could go to college, studying to be used of God in service.  There were three of us kids at that time, with a fourth on the way.  While we were in Indiana, two more were born.  The fourth child was born with a birth defect and if not for the great doctors of the Chicago hospitals, he would not now be a wonderful husband and father of three great children.  There was a year or two of time in and out of the hospital, surgery, etc.  Daddy was in college, although he took time off with the problems of the fourth child.  Somehow, life went on normally for us kids.  Daddy worked full time and went to school full time.  And Mama worked full time to support the family.  We kids never knew the struggles that were going on.

When I was growing up, I took life for granted.  I never understood or even thought about the sacrifices that were made by my parents.  By my mom.  For us.  What they went through with a child who had a life threatening birth defect.  With three other kids, one only a year old.  Now as a mom myself, and having had to give one of my own children back to God, I understand just a tiny bit what my parents went through.  Having a child hurting, standing by and watching, not knowing what the outcome will be, tears a mother's (and dad's) heart out.  What does that do to relationships?  Relationships with each other, with God?

Thanks to both my parents for their strong faith in God, for leading by example, and for staying with each other for 45 years (this June).

I love you!

BOOK REVIEW: Selections from One Thousand Gifts

Selections from One Thousand Gifts, 
Finding JOY in What Really Matters
By: Ann Voskamp
Published by Zondervan
Copyright 2012

In Selections from One Thousand Gifts, Finding JOY in What Really Matters, gifted author and photographer Ann Voskamp uses her vivid photos and unusual writing style to record her thankfulness and praise to God.  

Challenged to list 1,000 gifts by a friend, Ann has written and collected thousands of blessings.  Some of which she shares in this book (and in One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).  This is a beautiful little gift book, never a plain page, each elaborate design and the personality of Ann shining through.  A book you won't want to put down, but will want to read straight through and soak in.  And read again.  

Ann Voskamp truly has a way with words.  An unusual style, one that slows you down and gets you to thinking.  And personally realizing that I should be more thankful.  And wondering if I can find 1,000 things for which to be thankful?  Now I can't wait to get out my camera and my journal...

One Thousand Gifts, a Thousand Thanks is an app available for your iPhone/iPad and AndroidAlso available is One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  Don't miss out on visiting the website for the book and also the website for Ann Voskamp.  

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Shelton Interactive and Zondervan.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: A Heart Like His

A Heart Like His
By: Beth Moore
Published by B&H Publishing Group
Copyright 1999, 2003, 2012

If you have never attended a Beth Moore Bible study, if you have never read one of her books, if you have never listened to her on the radio, you are missing a real treat.  This woman has wonderful insight into the Bible and into the hearts of women.

Unfortunately, the first time I attended one of her Bible studies (a DVD study at a small church), I was unable to concentrate on the study because I was so distracted by the trappings of the DVD -- the numerous changing of outfits, etc. during one session.  That experience turned me off on Beth Moore for a long time.  However, I am learning that I need to go below the surface.  I need to look into the heart, so to speak.  So when I was asked if I would like to review Beth Moore's book A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David, I said yes. 

And I am so glad I did!  I cried through this book.  I was convicted through this book.  I was astonished, and reminded of God and His love for us, flawed as we are.  So many pages in my copy of A Heart Like His have pencil marks as reminders, and page corners turned down. 

Beth Moore begins A Heart Like His with David's "back story".  The events in Israel that set the stage.  Characters such as Samuel, Saul and Jonathan.  Israel's demand for a king, the desire to be like all the other nations.  The events that helped shape Israel, that ultimately helped shape David.  David's love, courage, wisdom, and fierce loyalty to God even as a young boy.  A Heart Like His takes you through David's entire life, ending with his death at the age of 70.  He was a beloved king.  He was a strong, valiant warrior.  He was a sinner.  He was a man after God's own heart.

In A Heart Like His you will find an in-depth look at the life of David.  What makes up his character.  David was definitely a flawed human being.  This Bible study brings out his sin with Bathsheba, the murder of Bathsheba's husband, the death of the son resulting from that sin; the rape of his daughter Tamar by his first son Amnon, the resulting hatred of Tamar's brother Absalom for Amnon, the murder of Amnon by Absalom; the attempted overthrow of David by Absalom.  On an on David's sins are pointed out.  But so to are the accomplishments of David.  His willingness to be led of God.  His relationship with God.  His brokenness and desire to return to God once his sins were pointed out. Over and over Beth Moore points out the chastening of God in regards to David.  The leading of David back to God.

Beth Moore has used this study of David to point out areas in our lives where God can use us.  Even when we have sinned and sinned greatly, God can still use His people.  The key is forgiveness.  He is always waiting, always willing.  It's up to us.

It would be a good idea to read this book slowly, in conjunction with reading the Scriptures involved, to absorb and apply the lessons of David.  There is also available an in-depth Bible study, 11 weeks, called David: Seeking a Heart Like His.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Shelton Interactive and B&H Publishing Group.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ramblings on James 2

Pond at my parents' house
On Sunday nights I have been attending a singles Bible study.  Just a bunch of singles from all walks of life, most of them over 45.  However, there are now a few of us under 45, and we are called the "babies".  I digress.  The last couple of weeks we have been studying the book of James.  Sunday night we were in chapter 2.  The first few verses, actually through verse 13, created a great discussion. How do we treat others?  What if we think someone is beneath us?  Maybe we think we have a better paying job, or they don't take care of themselves properly, or they don't look right according to our standards.  How are we supposed to treat them?  James uses some pretty strong language to let Christians know that we will be judged in the same manner that we judge others. 

One of our group brought up that we should be mirrors to others.  We should reflect back to them what we see, the reflection of God in our lives.  We should be showing love and not judgement.  Too many times I have to remind myself of that very thing.  Aren't we all created equal in God's eyes?  Haven't we all sinned?  None of us is perfect, not even close.  All of our righteousness is as filthy rags, as the Bible points out

Wouldn't it be nice, isn't it what God wants, that we reflect His glory, His love to others?  Just as in the photo above of the reflection of the trees and sky in my parents' pond, we should be reflecting to others our God.  If we are not living right, which happens to all of us, how can we reflect the true image of God?  How will others see Him in us?  It would be distorted, like ripples in a pond distorting the image of God.  Who would want to be a Christian if they see us acting like we do sometimes?

Matthew 5:16 says "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."  Full circle back to how we treat others.  There is no way we can let our light shine for Christ, our image reflect His glory, if we don't treat others right.  And that brings us to the last half of the second chapter of James.  James asks Christians how they can say they are Christians if their actions say otherwise?  I think I have some work to do...