This really IS the view from my front porch. Sweet, huh?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

# 42

A few months ago Ricky and I met up with some friends and spent the night watching the best meteor shower I’ve ever experienced.  On a retired blueberry farm located in the Ozark Mountains, far away from city lights we circled our lawn chairs and positioned our cameras for the show.  There were so many meteors falling from every direction.  The six of us sat, each looking toward the sky saying “There’s one.”, “Did you see that one?”, “There’s another one.” etc.  To satisfy our curiosity, but mainly just for the fun of it, we decided to count the number of meteors we saw in one hour starting at 11:00 p.m. As streaks fell across the sky, one by one we heard “1… 2… 3… 4...” like a song from a great symphony, usually from a solo voice but sometimes in two or three part harmony.  They were averaging one a minute and the whole experience was quite amazing.  But the highlight of the night was #42.  When this light fell it was seen by all!  I don’t remember which was louder, the one word drawn out as we southerners do so well – “WOW!!!!“ or six voices shouting at once “42!!” It was a night I will never forget.  Since that night there have been other opportunities for night gazing and, while we have seen other falling stars, there has yet to be another # 42. 

This got me to thinking…
First - How can anyone look into the pitch black of night viewing diamond-like gems sparkling at a distance that looks as if you could reach out and touch them, yet realizing they are light-years away, and not sing praises the God of All Creation?  Just lying back staring into the vast expanse is one of the most relaxing things I know to do.

Second - God’s wonders can be experienced at the same time in all places – just like His presence can be, too.  At the same time that we were seeing # 42 in Arkansas, Elizabeth, my oldest daughter, could see it in Tennessee.  God's blessings are not limited by time or space. 

Third – Not every meteor shower contains a # 42.  Those times are special gifts from God and are to be cherished.  And I am so thankful that I got to, not only experience # 42, but share it with a special group of friends.

Today is Thanksgiving and as I am cooking and making preparations to spend time with family I am reflecting on all the # 42s I have in my life.  I’ve refrained from participating in the 30 days of Thanksgiving for fear of leaving someone/something important out, but I have SO MUCH to be thankful for!
The brightest, shining star in my life has to be FAMILY, not only my immediate family of Ricky and our three beautiful girls, but EVERYONE that we call “Family”.  If you are a McCarley, Schmatjen, Pitts, married to one of these, or the child of one of these you are family.  If you are a member of the Donald D. Davis Family or the Bill Milam Family, you have welcomed, accepted and loved us as one your own and we call you family.  If you are a member of Lamar Baptist Church, you are family.  And there’s even my “Sisters of the Traveling Snake Boots” who continually share their knowledge, love and excitement for God’s creation, capturing it in images to share with others through a passion that has bonded us known as photography.

I extend to you all a sincere wish for a Happy Thanksgiving.  May the day be full of blessings and reflections upon all God has done for you and those you love.  I remind you to cherish the moments you have with your special ones for we are not guaranteed tomorrow but nothing can take from us the memories we hold in our hearts.

Now… back to the kitchen… (sigh)…

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

I took a photo journey to a place that will always be special to me. Though the place I visited looks nothing now like it did in my younger years, the pictures in my mind can never be replaced. 

 My grandparent’s home on Stillwell Road just north of Clarksville is where I attended “pre-school”.  This is where I learned many valuable lessons that I’ve carried with me for over 40 years:
- Hide and Seek is much more fun in the dark.
- Fried Frog legs are “just miniature fried chicken legs.”
- Carry your own paper to the two-seater.
- With enough imagination, you CAN see the world in a junk car parked behind the barn.
- Let sleeping uncles lie.
- Shoes optional but preferred when walking through the chicken yard.
- Shetland ponies don’t need saddles.
- You sleep much better under a stack of quilts.
- If you can make snow ice cream you can make your own ice skating rink.
- Playing “Chase” around the wood stove can scar you for life.
- You can be Roy Rogers and I’ll be Dale Evans.  You be the Lone Ranger and I’ll be Tonto.  You be Jody and I’ll be Buffy.
- Swallowing watermelon seeds is not what causes belly bumps.
-You want to be the first person to drink the well water from the dipper if at all possible.
- The higher you swing the farther you fall.
But the most valuable thing I learned is the importance of having family around you.  The best “Pitts Memories” for me include family gatherings for Sunday jeep rides, 4th of July at the lake, home-made ice cream on the front porch, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  Through the years we’ve gone our separate ways and seldom get together as before but the bond of family is still held together with memories and love.

Some might be upset that a place with such fond memories is slowly deteriorating away and falling in.  But, to fix it up or to tear it down… either one would destroy the place that now exists only in my mind. 

I can still hear the sounds of "The People's Exchange" and "The Voice of Christ In Our Time" playing on the old radio as it filtered out the open windows onto the porch where we would sit and swing for hours. 
And the clover filled yard was my favorite place to lie, staring up into a bright blue sky with big fluffy clouds as I made up stories about where the planes flying overhead were going and who they were carrying.  I’ve traveled all over Arkansas photographing vintage and almost missed capturing true vintage with special memories and meaning to me. 
Don’t let the “almost” in life come out the victor. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

See You At The ...What??

SYATP (See You at the Pole) is a time set aside each year on the fourth Wednesday in September where students pray on their campuses. This movement, starting in the 1990's, has grown from ten students praying at their school, to more than two decades later, millions gathering all around the world.
For the high school students in the small town of Lamar, Arkansas, SYATP stands for See You at the Pavilion because, where the flag pole once stood, now there is a pavilion. The pole was moved to the front entrance of the building, near the street several years ago so now students gather at the heart of their campus, the courtyard. What better place for them to pray for their surroundings.
This time of student led prayer starts at 7:00 a.m. It is estimated that there were around 50 students in attendance this year. That’s a pretty good turn-out considering the total enrollment for 9th – 12th grade is just over 400 students.

Lamar students were a shining example of Christian leadership. 
One by one, they lifted up prayers for their friends, families, teachers, school campus, and local servicemen and women to God.  Being bold enough to take a stand at school for their faith and their God will make them stronger leaders in whatever they wish to pursue as adults. Look out world - here they come!

The 2012 See You at the Pole™ theme is Awaken and the Scripture is Ephesians 3:14–21—“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father… I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts…And I pray that you… grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…’”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Little Bit Mayberry... A Little Bit Minow Creek...


A visit to Nashville, Tennessee brings up images of country music and cowboy boots, city lights and honkie tonks, urban meets rodeo… but to me, a visit to Nashville means family. 
Our firstborn moved there some time ago to experience a life that moves to a different beat from what can be heard/felt at Minnow Creek.  So a six and a half hour road trip down I-40 is all that is needed to bring our whole family together for a little while.

As a Mom, having my oldest baby girl so far away is hard.  But one thing that eases my mind is knowing that she is not far from a special place that is filled with special people. 
 Red Tree Coffee is that place; the Conleys and Bruces (a.k.a. The Davis Sisters and family) are those special people.  Located about 30 minutes from Nashville, this little town feels like… a little bit Mayberry… a little bit Minnow Creek… a whole lot down home USA.


Upon entering this unique coffee shop you are greeted with warm smiles, lots of hugs and a feeling that someone important is visiting that day only to learn that someone is YOU!
 There are plenty of places to sit and visit with the locals, check your email or write a blog.
The place has a gallery feel thanks to walls decorated with artwork by Robert Langford, brother-in-law to the gals.

His wife, Camille, has hand-made lotions and soaps for sale
 and you can also purchase some of the shop's secret recipes packaged for "take and bake".

Saturday breakfast for us consisted of a wide display of goodies

and lots of coffee – both hot and iced.

Live music is the norm here with new acts giving a first performance or seasoned artists looking for some Friday night fun while filling in an open date.

While the talent shared from this off the path venue is astounding, the love that flows so freely here cannot be matched. 

"Stay out of my kitchen!"
Find them on Facebook, MySpace or just give them a “google”.  And the next time you are in the Nashville area allow time to stop by and say “Howdie!”
Red Tree Coffee serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday thru Saturday and Friday Night offers Dinner and Live Entertainment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch

Every girl dreams about the perfect wedding.  Ideas are often tucked away in dresser drawers and scrap books for the special day when she will walk down the aisle and stare into the eyes of her prince charming.  And Mothers everywhere eagerly anticipate helping their daughters turn their dreams into realities while Daddies reluctantly open their wallets. This is just one of many reasons that I wanted to attend the Open Barn event held last Saturday.

My recent search for “Vintage Arkansas” found the pot of gold as I strolled through the grass field, turned parking lot with my sweetheart hubby, Ricky and daughter #2, Leslie. 

 We were able to experience first-hand how Lesleigh Smith and her team can create a unique setting that is all out vintage yet elegant and fresh. 

 The whole experience proved to be “Fun and flirty yet, hopelessly romantic!” - Lesleigh Smith.

The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch is the River Valley’s newest venue established primarily for weddings and receptions. 

Located just outside of Dardanelle, Arkansas a bit of something old is combined with something new.

A recently constructed barn made from old materials houses room enough for your wedding guests to grab their partners and doe-see-doe with room to spare. 

The design team will help you plan your special day coordinating everything from invitations to the cake, decorations, catering and music.

They will create a sensational setting for you to live out your dreams without being stressed out.  

For more information about The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch visit their website