Nashville music nights

Nashville downtown, nightIsn’t music to the ears of the beholder, or listener?

Maybe you’ve heard the term “music to my ears.”  I have – which denotes something pleasing.

While traveling through downtown Nashville at night, one will certainly hear various genres of music.  It seems to me that I mostly heard country music though.

What is interesting to me is how many musicians aspiring to greatness are heard throughout these famous downtown blocks and along Music Row.  I was also intrigued by the volume of people walking and driving through the area.  The music tends to blend in with the collection of tunes from each establishment, combined with noise of people and vehicles.

It’s a good thing we ate before cruising the Nashville night strip as it was slow moving and we certainly would have been enticed by all the restaurants.

Hattie Bs outside, nightA popular restaurant around Nashville is Hattie Bs and we had to experience it.  We went to the Hattie Bs in Berry Hill.  The line was long and parking was limited but we found a spot along the main road.  They specialize in fried chicken with various heat levels.  I didn’t try the “hot” level but my no heat was outstanding.  I loved the sides.

It’s worth a visit at one of the Hattie Bs locations.   There is one in Midtown nearest Music Row but I’m sure it was packed.  One is now open in Las Vegas as well.

Hattie Bs outside mural

Nashville has a lot to offer, particularly for music lovers.  I just wanted to provide a little sampling with this post.



Florida’s Music

Florida music with natureI enjoy this image I saw at a Florida welcome center, Osceola National Forest, highlighting Florida’s music.

The trumpeting of sandhill cranes, croaking of bull gators and grunting of pig frogs – part of the natural habitat.

Interstate 10 goes through the Osceola National Forest near Lake City, Florida.  It’s not far from the Suwannee River where Stephen Foster was inspired.

According to VisitFlorida: “On the banks of the Suwannee River, the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park brings camping, canoeing and hiking along this historic river together with living folk culture. The park, named for the composer of Florida’s state song, “Old Folks at Home” (better known as “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River”).

I can see how one like Stephen Foster would be inspired to write.  The following words came to my mind just by looking at the nature photo and driving over the Suwanee River (I see a future post about this river coming.)

“Oh the music to my hears, of the things we hold dear,                                                              Some we may naturally like and some may create fear.                                                            The soft, gentle flow of rain and water,                                                                                    Create an environment that you don’t want to bother.” – Ron Tittle

The caption of the artwork states:

Among the towering trees of Fanny Bay Swamp, listen for the splash of the turtle sliding off its log.

Look for the “trees with knees”! The cypress trees and swamp are home to many of the plants and animals we may see within the Florida forest.

Notice the different plants and animals that live in this ecosystem compared to the pines and flatwoods.

Listen closely, beyond the noisy creatures and soft sound of the wind – enjoying the music of cypress swamps.

“When you try to change any single thing, you find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”  – John Muir



Drift ashore

Driftwood 4Have you ever looked at driftwood along the shore and wondered its origin?

Drifwood 2How long has it been there and how long will it stay?                                                                  What use has the wood provided in time’s past,                                                                      And where it stands, how long before decay?

Driftwood 5

Driftwood is wood washed ashore, along a beach, a sea, lake or river,                                  By the action of winds, tides or waves.

Most driftwood is remains of trees – washed into the ocean, by flood, high winds,                It could exist from logging, or other natural events.

Maybe the tree that once was, and is no more,                                                                          Has no use today, so we think.                                                                                                          But isn’t it still a tree, although different from what we believe?                                          Maybe it was in an important mission, or a boat that would sink.

Driftwood and OspreyDriftwood has a new purpose, to provide a home for birds.                                                  And maybe during its journey – a place for fish or other life, some now extinct.

Driftwood 7But we see the special beauty in the passing of time,                                                              And take photos to remind us how it stands there alone;                                                        For us to behold the splendor,                                                                                                          Of life as it carries on.

Driftwood 3We may think our life’s use won’t last,                                                                                        And we wonder if we drifted ashore.                                                                                                But we must look beyond our past,                                                                                              And know there is more.

Driftwood 1(Additional note from Wikipedia: “There is also a subset of driftwood known as drift lumber. Drift lumber includes the remains of man-made wooden objects, such as buildings and their contents washed into the sea during storms, wooden objects discarded into the water from shore, dropped dunnage or lost cargo from ships (jetsam), and the remains of shipwrecked wooden ships and boats (flotsam). Erosion and wave action may make it difficult or impossible to determine the origin of a particular piece of driftwood.”  (Wikipedia)






Trees of life

Tree design 1Tree oh tree, how do you form?

You spread your roots to withstand the storm.

Tree design 4You press upward toward the sky,

And you continue to grow, until the time to die.

You have a time to live, given by the Creator,

No matter your design, you will not waiver.

We watch as you extend, spreading your limbs,

Tree design 2Awaiting the children, to climb on a whim.

You feel the breeze, the sun and the rain,

You stand there still, quiet and yet without disdain.

Times come when the storms become too great,

Causing your roots to strain and the limbs to break.

Tree design 3Such as the storm Florence we know,

Causing you to yield to water, and winds that blow.

Life in the sway with those whom you received their trust,

They counted on you to hold firm, even when all comes at you with a thrust.

Tree design 5As the threat overbears, you fall and become a threat,

To those loving your beauty and climbed where you’re at.

But those of you that withstand, and endure the pain,

You’ll become stronger, knowing you withstood the strain.

Tree design 6We’ll continue enjoying your beauty, as we should,

We know you’ll continue to grow, if only you could.



Beauty before Beast

Sunrise and beach

Isn’t it amazing how beauty can soon change into a dangerous, catastrophic threat to life and property?

Who can imagine how one morning a sunrise can present such beauty and within hours change?  That’s how our physical environment can change without notice and sometimes we’re not prepared for the threats of life.

Storm CloudsTake Hurricane Florence for instance and how the sunrise begins to give way to the storms that encroach on our freedom and peace of mind.

Just like our lives we yield to that which overcomes; however, we don’t have to declare defeat.  I believe that through God’s amazing grace and help we can overcome any obstacle.

Charleston boardwalkI’m thinking of those in the path of Hurricane Florence, or traveling through the southeastern U.S. during the next couple of weeks.

Beach pier with rough wavesResidents and guests near the ocean in the southeastern U.S. should be aware of the dangers and should listen closely to local emergency managers.  The waves are tremendously dangerous with rip tides and currents.

Beach pier with rough waves-2

Even that which is now may become no more.    

Sea angry near boardwalkThe calm soon turns into anger as the ocean rises to meet the borders that contain it.  Yes, winds are devastating but storm surge is for real.  Can you just imagine 13 feet of ocean rise over land? And, considering some of the waves from Florence are being documented at around 30 feet, what can stand in the relentless onslaught of power.

Sea angryThose traveling in the southeastern U.S. need to be aware that thousands, if not millions of people will be traveling more that normal, extending outward to most of the surrounding states and then some.

Traffic CongestionExpect traffic to be tremendous on Interstates and local roads and the airports to be overcrowded.

Charleston Bridge to beachAs winds increase, expect bridges to close for traffic

Expect restaurants to be crowded, and possibly without food – even before the storm makes its major impact.  Lodging will be overbooked.  You will likely have difficulty getting ANY rooms throughout the region.

Hurricanes have so much destructive power that includes multiple tornadoes as well as tremendous storm surge – and pushing water inland.

Waves under pier

Storm surge reality check
Storm surge height expectation during respective categories of a hurricane.

Even days, if not weeks, expect flooding and all sorts of other hazards.

Water fast moving

There will be major power outages and fires, leaking fuel and other chemicals.  Downed power lines and trees will adorn most landscapes.  If one can evacuate the identified area please do so.  If one can’t evacuate safely, please notify local authorities to seek assistance BEFOREHAND.

Evacuation Route sign

Once the major storm threat has passed, it will take quite a while to return to any kind of normal conditions.  People will be without water and food for days, if not weeks.  Emergency response teams will do their best to help residents and guests to recover but everyone must take responsibility to prepare and be safe.

Only use generators outside with ventilation.  That’s a safety precaution for all times, not just emergencies.  Remember!  Keeping you and your family safe and secure is your primary responsibility.

I’m an advocate for non-profits and faith-based organizations like churches throughout the region to organize to help those traveling and may be stranded, while those within the path help those who cannot travel.  This is a great opportunity to love our neighbors and re-enforce local response efforts.

Those who volunteer to help should also register with respective emergency management divisions for coordination and accountability.

Again, those traveling in the U.S. should check regularly with news and emergency management authorities to determine up-to-date information.

If you are traveling outside the projected path you may likely have Internet connection and phone service but realize those within the storm areas will have difficulty communicating for periods of time.  If you don’t have to travel to the projected impact areas please look for other places to visit and enjoy your travels.

One immediate website to assist in emergency planning is at




Preparation begins when?

Storm over oceanSeptember is a month for many major hurricanes and tropical storms threaten the U.S., mostly from the Atlantic Ocean.  The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a preparation statement during the weekend advising the public that it’s National Preparedness Month.  The theme for this week is for everyone to make an emergency plan, encouraging each of us to write, share and practice it.

Hurricane damage on San Jose Blvd

I know – much of the U.S. does not live near the coast to be threatened by hurricanes or tropical storms, but what about tornados?  What about ice storms? What about events that may require us to remain indoors, or without electrical power?  Have you thought through the “what if” scenario sufficiently?

Get a plan for disasters - from

All communities worldwide should be prepared for the what if.

Florida has a great plan to encourage the public to think through potential threats.

Additionally, all of us should keep informed from local emergency planners and response agencies as all disasters are local.

Florida’s emergency management division suggests the following concept for a basic plan.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?                  

  1. What is my shelter plan?
  2. What is my evacuation route?
  3. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.

Step 3: Create an Emergency Plan

You can download a America’s PrepareAthon template plan.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Be safe, regardless of the time of year!  You are special!




Biloxi – storm magnet or leisure spot?

Biloxi Beach

Biloxi, Mississippi is a favorite spot for people to relax along the Gulf Coast.  The beautiful beaches and southern charm enhance the blend of the sun and surf.

Biloxi sign

Just like life though, beauty, peace and pleasure are sometimes interrupted by periods of adversity and storms.  Similarly, Biloxi was impacted by Hurricane Gordon this week.  According to The Weather Channel, Gordon made landfall just below hurricane strength late Tuesday near the Alabama and Mississippi border, about 30 miles east of Biloxi.

Biloxi Beach with sailboat

Biloxi Beach lot
Some of the Gulf Coast landscape at Biloxi was changed from the affects of previous hurricanes.  Some homes were destroyed as well as foliage but the area remains picturesque.  

I’m sure those who live along the coast, or those visiting, are thankful the hurricane this week was not like the ones they’ve experienced in the past – such as Hurricane Katrina.

Regardless, every storm is unique in itself, disrupting the peaceful life – creating stress and havoc in the paths.  Once again though, people pick up the pieces and press forward – rebuilding as necessary and return to enjoying the leisure we all hold dear.

Biloxi Beach road

Biloxi Beach-2

Biloxi Beach with sailboat-2It reminds me that no matter the storms of life – the blue, clear skies remain above the clouds.  Let’s appreciate the beauty around us today.  God made it for us.

Biloxi Beach LighthouseBiloxi Lighthouse-3

Biloxi is an excellent place to enjoy leisure, overshadowing the infrequent threat of storms.  Enjoy life!

Biloxi Beach Hard Rock Guitar