Giant Northern White Cedar

This is (I believe) a Giant Northern White Cedar, near the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Northern Michigan. It's massive! I can't find any information on this particular tree, even though there's a big sign in front of it that talks about it. Maybe I should have taken a picture of the sign, too? Regardless, this was a grand tree! The swoops of it's large branches remind me of an elephant trunk.

There is a stand of these giants on South Manitou Island, and it is said that these cedars are twice as big as your average White Cedar. During this vacation (when this picture was taken), we tried to take the boat out to South Manitou so we could hike around the island and hopefully see this beautiful stand of old trees, but the weather made the lake really choppy and they canceled all day-trips. Boo! One day, I can't wait to get out there and do some good exploring.

P.S.—[2/12/10] I just had a family member send me a picture of the sign that's in front of this tree. Thanks, Mary Lou! Here's her picture of the sign, complete with all the fun facts about this tree.


The Red Trail

We hiked somewhere new this past weekend. After my daughter's morning nap, we loaded our little family up and headed out to Clyde E. Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary-Trust and Audubon Center in Frankfort, KY. We've been wanting to visit this natural area, so we were excited to get out there—especially since it was 56 degrees in the middle of winter! As you can see from the photo above, we took the red trail. :o)


One of my favorite places

Watching the waves at the Gulf Islands National Seashore—Florida district

This is one of my favorite places in North America. It's sort-of a secondary home to me. My family has vacationed in this area for many, many, many years, and it never gets old. My husband and I were sitting on the sand, and watching the sun set over the Gulf when I took this picture. There were Willets darting in and out of the waves, and the sunlight on the water was just incredible. Every time I look at this picture, it takes me back to that. It's like having a little mini-vacation in my memory. There's just nothing more peaceful than watching the waves roll in like this. It speaks to my soul! The world becomes clear, sitting at the edge of the sea. The chaos comes into focus. It's amazing to find peace in the roar of the ocean, but I do.


Amicalola Falls

Amicalola Falls
Dawsonville, GA

As I said in a previous post, our family spent Christmas in Georgia this year. It's easy to see why this is one of Georgia's most popular state parks. According to the Web site, "Amicalola, a Cherokee Indian word meaning 'tumbling waters,' is an appropriate name for these 729-foot falls—the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River."


The Brink

"From the heights we leap and flow
To the valleys down below,
Sweetest urge and sweetest will,
To go lower, lower still."
—the water's song
from Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard


Stone horse fence in the snow

We live in horse country--serious horse country. Not rodeo, cowboy kind of horse country. No, no. This is Equestrian country. In fact, our city is known as "Horse Capital of the World." THE WORLD! Anyway . . .

These kinds of "horse fences" are littered throughout the area. Some people have built newer ones to resemble the ones from long ago, and some of them are the real deal--ruins from a different era. This is a newer one that stands outside our home, and it actually acts as a retaining wall. It was really pretty with the new snowfall on it, so I had to stop and snap this image. One of these days, I'm going to take a short, slow drive through some of the nearby country roads to capture the real ones.


Leaf in the snow

Here's another photo from the recent Kentucky snowfall. This poor, frigid leaf was actually buried in the snow on top of a plastic storage cabinet on our patio. I was pretty cold by this point, and was actually headed back inside to warm up when I spotted this leaf.


Snow at my doorstep

I'm use to snow in Michigan, which is considerably more snow than we usually see in Kentucky. However, I love snow no matter where it falls or how much! So, I'm really enjoying the little bit of snow that recently fell at our home here in Lexington. It's been really cold (highs in the 20's), and it's been nice to look out my windows to watch the snow fall. I jumped outside for just a few minutes this morning to snap some shots that caught my eye. This is the mat outside our patio slider. I liked the way the scrolls were showing through the dusting of snow.


Winter Light

South Haven Pier Light in Winter

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Sparrow in Winter

Although these sparrows are invasive, I couldn't resist taking a picture of this one as he posed for me in our Forsythia bushes. We just got about 2.5" of snow with this snow system that has swept the Southeastern US. I'll be getting out there today to snap some shots. I've been seeing a lot of birds landing in our Forsythia, and their not sticking around long enough for me to get some pics, because we're out of birdseed! Can you believe that? We have Junkos, Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, Crows, and Wrens flitting around in the beautiful white snow, and I can't get a good shot. Maybe today?


Window on the Mill

Window on McHargue's Mill
"We reach for God in many ways. Through our sculptures and our scriptures. Through our pictures and our prayers. Through our writing and our worship. And through them He reaches for us.
His search begins with something said. Ours begins with something heard. His begins with something shown. Ours, with something seen. Our search for God and His search for us meet at windows in our everyday experience.
These are windows of the soul."
—Ken Gire in Windows of the Soul (1996, Zondervan)


Chandelier in Amicalola Falls Lodge

Amicalola Falls Lodge

I spent Christmas in Georgia with my family, this year. My sister-in-law hosted the whole clan, and planned a visit to Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, telling us that we would be seeing a really cool waterfall. I had no idea! I'll post more pictures of the falls later, but we also visited the lodge near the top of the falls.

The lodge is really pretty, and was all decorated for Christmas. The chandeliers were a simple, wrought-iron, but I really liked the way they contrasted with the solid-wood ceiling and beams. The lodge has a very cozy feel, and these chandeliers add to that. It was fun to wander around with the family, taking in the beautiful, fog-covered Blue Ridge Mountains.


McHargue's Mill at Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park

On our way home from our holiday road-trip, we took a brief break to stretch our legs in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. We happened to stop at McHargue's Mill, where the path is lined with historic millstones. According to the park's Web site:
"McHargue’s Mill was built on the banks of the Little Laurel River where it intersects Boone’s Trace. This working reproduction mill dates to the same era as the original McHargue family mills and has authentic interior works, including millstones. It is surrounded by the largest display of millstones in the country."
It's a fascinating little piece of history, and the large collection of millstones is very interesting. I wish I could see them at work!


Bridge over Roupes Creek

Bridge over Roupes Creek
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
McCalla, AL

Happy 2010! I think it's appropriate to post a picture of a bridge as we cross the bridge into a new year. I hope you find true Peace and Joy this year. May you experience abundant Grace throughout 2010.

I spent most of by growing-up years in Alabama. My family moved from Illinois to Alabama when I was six, and I lived there until I got married. There were many times (throughout those years) that I visited Tannehill State Park. When I recently visited my family for Thanksgiving, we went out to Tannehill for their Tannehill Crafters’ Open House, and it was the first time I had been there in several years. I remembered certain parts of it, but I had not remembered this bridge. I liked it instantly. Like I've said before, I have a thing for bridges.

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