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On this “Thoughtful Thursday,” I’d like to share a few wise words from Solomon. In the book of 1 Kings 3:16-27, we hear the story of two prostitutes who bring a child to the king for a judgement. We see mercy as the core judgment.

1 Kings 3:16-27

16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

Story Highlights

First, the king allowed two prostitutes into his court without judging their sin.

Second, he allowed them to argue their case in front of Him.

Then, he repeated their case to them, and ask for a sword. Next, he gave an order and waited for their replies.

Solomon’s Wisdom

He was granted wisdom from the Lord in previous verses because he had asked for it. God granted him wisdom because he asked for that above all other things. He asked for this so that he could be fair to God’s people. I love that he recognized that these were God’s people, not his subjects solely. His desire was not for personal gain. He didn’t want fame as the most popular king of all time, or riches, or even to live long. His desire was to govern God’s people the way God wanted them governed.

A Mother’s Worst Nightmare

My heart broke for the real mother of the child in question. Here they were in front of the king who determined who lived and who died, and the judgment was death to the innocent. For just a second, she had to wish she’d never brought the matter to his attention. Instead, she was willing to give her child over to a woman who had not only accidentally killed her own son, but stolen a living child from another mother. How selfish! How evil that woman was! Then, her true heart is revealed when she is willing for the child to die, to keep his mother from having him. At this point, I’m imagining the innocent baby lying in a basket before the king. There is sacrifice on the line here. One woman will sacrifice her son. The other will sacrifice a child for the sake of what… Jealousy? Being right? Hatred of the woman with the living child?

Two Prostitutes

Then, I think about the women. Both live in unhappy circumstances. I can’t imagine that either woman planned on growing up to be a prostitute. Then they find themselves pregnant. With a client’s’ baby? Single mother in a culture that stoned women for things for like this. And the second woman, whose son is dead, must have been suffering from postpartum depression! Not an excuse, but definitely a factor in today’s world. It also occurs to me that this is a bastard baby, likely to be scorned for the rest of his life in this culture. So, in that culture, possibly by any other judge, all three could have been put to death.  So why was Solomon able to judge this situation so wisely?

Foreshadowing of Jesus

Could it be a foreshadowing of Jesus’ birth and future sacrifice? Is this an example to us of what real love and sacrifice looks like? Among Solomon’s descendants there would be another mother who would sacrifice her son for the sake of the whole world. He too, would be an innocent “baby”, conceived by the Holy Spirit, with an unwed woman. He too, would be punctured with a sword, but brought to life so that past, present and future offspring could live. He would be a future King.

Mercy, Incognito

All three (women and baby) were God’s people. Solomon must have realized on some level that God loved all of them regardless of their circumstances. He isn’t looking at their sin, only the case before him. Mercy, incognito. Grace, under wraps.

Life’s Application

And finally, the application I gleaned from these verses has to do with the sword. Solomon asked for a sword. A sword to divide the child in half. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that! But, it struck me, metaphorically, that the judge’s first inclination was to reach for a sword. What is the word of God? When we daily put on the armor of God (Eph 6: 16-18) we are to take up the sword of the Spirit. What if all judges used this sword in their cases? What if we used it ourselves in daily life? Could we also give mercy, incognito? Could we offer grace, underwraps? All for the sake of future generations knowing that there is a judge who judges fairly. There is a KING who only wants the very best for HIS kingdom. There is a KING who sacrifices for the love of mankind.

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Okra and Rice Casserole

Okra. Some say it’s slimy, some say it’s the best fried vegetable on any southern table. I would have to agree with the latter. However, I have found a different recipe that is a cross between country and creole. Continue reading to transform a casserole into seafood gumbo.

Okra and Rice Casserole adapted from Southern Living

Okra and Rice Casserole

The great thing about this recipe is it will serve empty nesters twice when you turn the side dish into Seafood Gumbo.

Okra and Onion

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 pkg. frozen seasoning blend

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 fresh okra, trimmed and cut into pieces

1 cup frozen corn kernels

2 tsp. Cajun Seasoning (I used Tony Chachere’s)

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 (8.5 oz) pouches microwavable basmati rice

Cut Okra

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Whisk together the oil and flour in a dutch oven and cook over medium-high whisking until mixture is golden brown – 5-7 minutes. Stir in frozen seasoning blend and cook for about 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, broth, okra, corn, Cajun seasoning and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened for about 10 minutes.

Squeeze rice pouches to separate grains. Tear a 2-inch vent in each pouch and microwave both pouches for 2 minutes. Rice will be slightly undercooked. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Top with okra mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Okra and Rice Casserole

Okra and Rice Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients:

Leftover Okra and Rice Casserole

Remaining Vegetable Stock from Casserole

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

3 andouille sausage links, diced

1 pound Cajun steamed shrimp

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons cajun seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Water to reach desired consistency

Directions:

Place leftover okra and rice casserole in a dutch oven. Add 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, and the vegetable broth not used in the first recipe. Combine remaining ingredients except for shrimp and simmer at least 30 minutes. Five minutes before serving, add shrimp. Serve with cornbread and coleslaw.

 

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During the recent Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, one of the event planners commented, “A city is only as good as its creative force.” As I think about tomorrow night’s artwalk here in Fairhope, I couldn’t agree more. One of the things I love so much about living in Fairhope, is its’ creative force. We are so blessed to have so many different types of artists living near or in our city. Every type of medium from watercolor painters to jewelers to writers.

Fairhope’s Creative Force of Merchants

How absolutely marvelous to get to “rub elbows” once a month with so many different creatives. And those who make it possible are some of the friendliest, trend-savvy, dedicated merchants in all of the southern states. Here are a few trends being put out on store shelves as you read this post.

Shoefly

Chokers in every color.

shoefly-chokers

 

And lace-ups flats by Sacha London. Game ready!!!

shoefly-sachalondon

 

DejaVu

New DejaVu arrivals.  Cute off-the-shoulder shirt comes in grey, black, burgundy, and tan $48. New fall make-up bags $24.

dejavu-off the shoulder shirt

 

Bliss Bridal

Bliss Bridal is now carrying gorgeous baubles from Sara Gabriel Designs. Handmade in Colorado and featuring finer materials, like Swarovski crystals, and trendy metals, Sara Gabriel offers the perfect finishing touches for today’s bride.

bliss-roseearrings_1

 

 

bliss-meyerbracelet_2

 

 

bliss-alexearrings_7

 

Simply Divine

We are excited to show off our new fall arrivals.  We have the latest fashions from Simply Noelle, Escapada Living, and more. Now available in sizes XS to 3XL!

simply-divine-WB-PNT1-BLK

 

simply-divine-noelle chifon top

 

simply-divine-NOELLE BLOUSE

Simply-divine-3-4-slv-margot-dress_navy-aqua-madrid_1_2(1)

 

Dr. Music

Dr. Music Records will celebrate all things vinyl for September’s First Friday Artwalk.  Come see our curated display of vinyl LP’s, turntables, CD’s and musical ephemera.  These aren’t  just for gazing, they’re for sale at great prices.  We’re open from 6-8 at 35 S Section St.  

lpwall record players stock

B Southern

And welcome to B Southern! This is their debut here on Heart for Dixie. Nicole Boothe has wanted to own a store like B Southern for as long as she can remember.  It is just what we love here in Fairhope. A family business! Nicole has two daughters and loves sharing it with them. Her southern chic boutique brings something different to Fairhope, with comfortable, affordable style and southern, hospitable service. Be sure to stop in, whether it’s on first Friday or not.

Fairhope's Creative Force is Out for ArtWalk

Lot’s of great Fall transition outfits.

b-southern plaids

These Vintage flannel shirts are one of a kind and exclusive to B Southern.

Happy Labor Day Weekend, Fairhope!

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday, Christian Bloggers Community

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

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La Petite Grocery

During a recent trip to New Orleans, 007, Princess Van Gogh and I had the pleasure of having lunch at La Petite Grocery. At first you might think we’d had lunch in a grocery store. Let me assure you, it is a restaurant you will not want to miss on your next trip to the Big Easy.

La Petite Grocery

La Petite Grocery

It was a yucky, rainy day, but we braved the rain and boy was it worth it! Executive Chef, Justin Devillier  and his wife, Mia took over ownership of the restaurant in 2010.  Mia learned all about southern hospitality while growing up in Charleston, SC. She credits her grandmother with her desire to make each dining experience a memorable one. There’s not a better combo for this blogger! Great food with super hospitality!

History and Excellent Menu

La Petite Grocery Menu

A friend recommended the restaurant and also recommended our lunch choice. The sweet little “creole cottage” style building was originally constructed in the Garden District over 100 years ago. After a fire, it was rebuilt and housed a “fancy” grocery store for over 35 years.  The current name reflects its history and suits it perfectly.

Blue Crab Beignets

I wish I were there right this minute so I could have this delicious appetizer meal again. These delicacies are blue crab beignets and as I’ve said many times, “This will make yo tongue slap yo brains out!” The crispy outside has just the right amount of crunch, but doesn’t prepare you for the creamy crab filling. I have such sympathy for those who have shellfish allergies. It’s a shame they cannot ever taste the gooey-crispy deliciousness of these alien-looking little pastries. The truffle fries are delicious, too.

Lovely Dining Room at La Petite Grocery

The dining room is lovely. I would describe it as upscale, (white tablecloth) but not in a stuffy way. The staff was friendly and attentive and definitely reminds you that this is a southern restaurant. There is a great wine menu as well. Lots of varieties.

Anyone heading to New Orleans anytime soon? I’d love to hitch a ride!

La Petite Grocery

4238 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

(504) 891-3377

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday, Christian Bloggers Community

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

Share it One More Time,

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hanging with a sloth

I am not lazy. But, I did go slothing last weekend.

I am a bit slow and very laid back. But, I’ve never hung upside down for hours.

Regardless, I’ve joked for years that a sloth is my spirit animal. I’ve not taken any quiz or test to confirm this, it is just what I’ve said for as long as I can remember. They are pretty dadgum cute and I can only imagine what a back scratching would be like with those long, curved nails claws.

My daughter’s spirit animal is a fox, but guess what she asked for on her birthday in April? A sloth experience. A friend of hers from our days living in Mississippi told her about the Hattiesburg Zoo where they offer just this thing. A sloth experience. And I got to hold Chewbacca! “Arrrhwrawerrururu!”

chewy upside down

Feeding a Sloth

The Hattiesburg Zoo is such a fun zoo! We began with our sloth-experience-tour-guides explaining that dangly earrings or necklaces might not be a good idea. He, (Chewbacca) might like them, too and he doesn’t ask politely if he can have them. After removing our jewelry, our first stop was the kitchen where we helped prepare Chewy (aka Chewbacca) and Moe’s dinner.

sloth grubs

Sloths eat apples, pears, celery, carrots, lettuce, sweet potatoes and canned protein.

slicing apples

slicing sweet potatoes

We sliced the food into thin pieces so they can hold them between their claws.

growing bell peppers

The zoo began an experiment this year, growing some of their own food. It was a big success and here are some of the last bits of produce for the season.

cooler full of food

We were allowed to walk into the cooler where they store most of the food for the animals.

Creature Comforts

hedgehog

The first creature we were allowed to “pet” was this little guy. When you first touch him, he jumps and begins to sneeze. So cute for a hedgehog!

chinchilla

Next, Kaitlyn brought out a chinchilla. The fur is so soft. I understand why there’s been a fur trade for this cute little rodent since the 16th century. But, they are too cute to wear!

evil bunny

We could only peep into this bunny’s habitat because as our guide explained, “He is evil.” I wondered how something so cute and fluffy could be evil? But, I took her word for it.

Chewy, a Sloth Experience

hammock

We were first introduced to Chewy and Moe in their habitat. Chewy loves his hammock.

Moe

Moe is not as social as Chewy, so she continued her daydreaming in her hammock.

sloth love

Princess Van Gogh was the first in our group of six to cuddle with Chewy.

Hello, my name is Chewy.

This is Chewy. He is quite photogenic.

happy birthday pvg

I think she liked her birthday present!

holding on

His claws holding on loosely.

my turn

Guess who’s neck Chewy nuzzled next?

great hug

Getting a great hug, but he was distracted by a ceiling pull hanging above our heads.

camera sloth

He’s quite the camera hog sloth. Such a cute face, with a big, wet nose and soulful eyes.

sticking out the tongue

long claws

These long claws were around my neck!

hanging with a sloth

Chewy is truly an incredible experience. He is just adorable! I drove two hours to hold him; Princess Van Gogh 3 1/2 hours. I speak for us both when I say it was SO WORTH IT! If you are anywhere near Hattiesburg, make your reservations and go give Chewy a hug.

Discovering the Rest of the Zoo

goat

Goats are so funny.

Please stop for Sheep!

This sweet face reminded me of my trip to England where we saw them throughout the Cotswolds.

ostrich

This fellow has something wrong with one of his eyes. But he seemed to follow us along the path around his exhibit.

king snake

I was actually a teensy-bit happy to meet this little guy. Only because it is a king snake which eats other snakes! Other than a dead snake, this is my favorite kind.

tarantula

Thank goodness for zoom lenses. I was not this close to this scary creature. Freaks me out just looking at the picture again.

zoo entrance

This is an enchanting zoo.

pig run

They even have a pig run every day at 4 pm.

water pad

And a fun water pad for hot summer days.

hattiesburg zoo

selfie with chewy

My favorite selfie of all selfies!  Yep, I’ve been loafing around with a sloth. Thanks for waking up for us, Chewy! And to my Princess… Happy Birthday! I enjoyed it so much!

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday,

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

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Beignets

On a recent trip to New Orleans, 007, Princess Van Gogh and I had the pleasure of hanging out in some the city’s most famous haunts. We were guests of an art auction where our dinners were included; so we took the opportunity to splurge on phenomenal treats, lunches, desserts and cocktails throughout the Big Easy. You can read about the rest of the trip here.

Café Du Monde

This lovely coffee and beignet shop has been in New Orleans for over 150 years. It is a landmark within the French Quarter. A cube of dough is fried and then smothered in powdered sugar. It is quite bewitching and normally served with coffee and chicory.  The day was way too hot for coffee, so we opted for ice-cold water. Some cool day, when I’m back in New Orleans, I’ll have the coffee. I can only imagine how delicious the two are together.

Beignets

Powdered Sugar

Sugar Lips

Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans

Brennan’s

A restaurant destination that is hard to get in without a reservation, Brennan’s is where the dessert, Banana’s Foster was born. Princess Van Gogh discovered a little secret. If you go between the lunch and dinner hours when the restaurant is closed, the bar is still open and they will serve you the famous Banana’s Foster. The bartender suggested we have it with Sazerac, but it was way too strong for me. All I can say is it is quite the spiritual experience.

Brennan's Chef

banana's foster

flambé

Out of This World Cocktails

The Hurricane

When you are tired and hot and still a bit spooked by the haunted city of New Orleans; stop into one of the many famous restaurants of the city and enjoy a different kind of spirit. The most world-renowned is the Hurricane made famous by a bartender at Pat O’Brien’s. It is fruity and cold and so refreshing.

Pimm’s Cup

If the memory of disastrous hurricanes doesn’t settle your nerves, then try the Pimm’s Cup. This is a lemony cocktail that’s been around since the 1800’s. We tried this at Hermes Bar at Antoine’s.

Pimm's Cup

Sazerac

Should you like your spirits so strong that they’ll knock you into next week while looking both ways to Sunday, then have a taste of Sazerac with your Banana’s Foster. I ordered it, but it was just too strong for my taste. It does come highly recommended, though. Diet Coke tastes just as good!

sazerac

La Petite Grocery

La Petite Grocery Restaurant, New Orleans

Lovely ambiance at La Petite Grocery in NOLA. This building was constructed in the late 1800’s as a specialty store. Located in the Jefferson City area of New Orleans, they sold butter, tea and coffee.

La Petite Grocery Menu

Excellent menu, but we came with a recommendation from a friend.

Blue Crab Beignets

And boy was she right! The blue crab beignets are the most heavenly seafood dish you will ever try! Delicious!

New Orleans is known for their restaurants and the few we got to try over a weekend were not disappointing. I can’t wait to go back and try more. Where have you eaten in New Orleans?

 

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday, Christian Bloggers Community

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

Share it One More Time,

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Sunset at Orange

Shop Local

Keeping small businesses busy and supporting local families, is a passion for 007 and I. We love the town of Fairhope and whenever possible we will stop in to a family-owned business long before we stop at a big box store. That is what these “First Friday” posts are all about. Supporting local merchants. The top story this month begins at a local art gallery.

The Lyons Share

This Friday, The Lyons Share will be featuring artist, Jennifer Nyblom who showcases touching, lovely art that represents “the town that raised her.” What could be more worthy of a First Friday stop? Lindsey Lawrence from The Lyons Share offered this about the event:

“The Town That Raised Me” by Fairhope native, Jennifer Nyblom is a beautiful showcase of Fairhope past and present. It truly captures the timeless beauty of this place. Locations selected in each painting have a feeling of home. Jennifer takes places we drive by, or used to drive by every day and transforms them into timeless treasures.

Forgotten

Forgotten

Empty Windows

Empty Windows

This once proud home was built by E.B Gaston, one of the founders of Fairhope. It stands lonely but patiently, on it’s little hill waiting to be loved again. But for now, it stares at the street with empty windows. (I don’t know who owns her now, but please do not let her fall prey to the bulldozers.)

Sunset at Orange

Sunset at Orange

The Fairhope Store

Just across the street from The Lyons Share, stop in to The Fairhope Store and get one of their brand-new-this-week, exclusive Fairhope Cast Net T-shirts. Not only are they a perfect design for the city, but they are SOOOOOO comfortable!

Shop Local at First Friday Artwalk

These fun, short-sleeve t-shirts are available in white, ice blue and caribe green.

Casting Net T-shirt

Sizes are small through XXL.

The Fairhope Store

They sell for $24.

The Fairhope Salon & Spa

Continuing on Del a Mar Street, get by The Fairhope Salon and Spa early (they close at 5) for these new products:

Shampure

This incredible product is a dry shampoo. It is simply a puff of powder rather than an aerosol. An instant refresh using oats to soak up any oils, it smells of 25 pure flower and plant essences! It sells for $30 and only $26 for refills.

Beautifying Scrub

Fairhope, I will race you to the salon for this one. The Beautifying Scrub is made of mineral-rich salt crystals to comfortably polish away surface cells.  It renews your skin while certified organic plant oils melt the moisture in! It smells divine, as most Aveda products do, with hints of lavender, bergamot, and rosemary. It sells for $50.

DejaVu

Deja Vu

New Arrivals for Fall! DejaVu is featuring Judith March clothing and will be open on First Friday until 9:00.

DejaVu Jewelry

They will also be having a featured sale for tax-free weekend. Stop in for details.

Tax-free Weekend

Come by and share a beverage. DejaVu loves getting to know their community!

Simply Divine

This lovely store on Fairhope Avenue will be open for Artwalk! A little boutique that carries all or your game day styles, no matter who you are cheering for!

War Eagle Colors

Here are your Auburn colors.

roll tide colorsAnd your Crimson Tide colors.

Stop by and say hello!

Shoefly

Boots at Shoefly in Fairhope, AL

Isola is a brand new line at Shoefly. I want the one on the right, so don’t buy that one in a size 8! (hahaha) I love, love, love the color combo and the stacked heel!

Tiba True

These Tiba True boots with the oh-so-fabulous fringe sell for $130.

Sarah in Tiba True Boots

And look how stylish they are with shorts! Thanks, Sarah for modeling!

Thanks for supporting a local blogger by reading this post! And a very special thank you to all of our local shops for letting us know what’s new in Fairhope. I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow night at the August 2016 First Friday Artwalk.

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The South's Haunted City

This article was featured on The Dedicated House on Make it Pretty Monday! Thanks, Kathryn!

I’m a bit spooked by New Orleans. Spirits loiter there. As a visitor strolling Royal, Bourbon or Decatur streets, I usually feel a bit uneasy in the Big Easy. I am not a fan of Bourbon Street and have had the impression that all New Orleans is like that one street. But, I was SO WRONG! Here’s the peaceful, serene side of the haunted city.

A Different View of the Haunted City

007 and I were recently invited to New Orleans to attend an art auction. Since it is only a 2 hour drive from home, we decided to go for a long weekend. We stayed in the Omni Royal Hotel on St. Louis Street and from there got to see a much more magical side of the haunted city.

Royal Omni Pool

French Quarter

Mississippi Riverboat Cruise

The only thing that might have made this cruise a bit more authentic to it’s era would be the costumes of the crew. Jazz filled the air. The bar was stocked and the water flowed over the paddle-wheel leaving a gentle wake. The captain told us about the port of New Orleans, life on the Mississippi and the history of the Natchez. The Jazz Punch made you want to hang out on the steamboat for hours.

Natchez

Life Jackets

A ceiling of lifejackets.

A Gentle Wake

Paddlewheel

Bourbon Street During the Day

The first time I walked down Bourbon Street, I remember praying that Jesus wouldn’t come back yet. It was the most disgusting place I’d ever seen and that was 26 years ago. This time in 2016, I wasn’t prepared. We crossed Bourbon Street. If Bourbon Street were Sodom or Gomorrah, I would have turned into a pillar of salt. I had to look back.

Bourbon Street

A woman stood in the street almost nude. She wore only pasties to cover her drug-ravaged, skinny body. Vagrants sat on the sidewalks drinking from bottles in paper bags. I wondered when they had eaten their last real meal.

This time I was not so much disgusted as I felt pity for them. Foggy days and vulgar nights does not make a beautiful life. Tourist want to see this. So these people are deceived into thinking they are entertainment. Or worse, they’ve been there so long, they don’t see a way out. It is so sad to see.

There are good places to eat and some great jazz to tap your foot to on this street. We didn’t want to take the time to search for it. I also realize that there are good, honest, hard working people making a living there. But, the overwhelming darkness I felt while walking across the street was palpable.

My advice is if you visit New Orleans, cross over Bourbon Street and keep walking. Hold your nose (the street smells like urine) and don’t look back. The beings you see may not be poltergeist, but it will definitely haunt you.

Walking Tour through the Garden District

Canal Street Trolley

We scheduled a walking tour that included one of the historic cemeteries in the city. We took the trolley to get there. The trolley was an experience in itself. We rambled through parts of the city I’d never seen. Some updated, some not, with beautiful homes and streets lit with timeless lamp posts. It only cost $1.25 (exact cash only) and is a great way to get a glimpse of the city.

Running of the Bulls in New Orleans

We got off the train near the entrance to the Lafayette Cemetery where our guide was waiting. She was wearing her “Running of the Bulls” outfit from earlier that morning. New Orleans is unique with this annual event. It coincides with the festival in Spain and has become a wild and fun run for participants. “Rollergirls” chase the runners, “goring” them with plastic horns attached to their helmets. We’re putting this on the list for next year!

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Tour Guide

Karen, our tour guide did an excellent job on such a hot summer day. We took a break in the air conditioning of a local coffee shop after touring the Lafayette Cemetery. The gravesite is housed within walls. The air inside is stagnant, without so much as a gentle breeze. Karen was smart to schedule our break immediately following this part of the tour.

Cemetery Gates

Gate to the Cemetery

Cemetery Wall

Walled graveyard.

Fedora Casualty

A fedora casualty.

Fencing in the Corpse

Fenced-in corpse? I thought people were dying to get in the cemetery.

Family Burial Corner

A family corner.

Death Alley

Death Alley

After the cemetery, we headed to the Garden District and this was actually our favorite part of the trip. The history of the homes, not to mention the celebrities who live in them was fun to see. We saw the house where Sandra Bullock entertains people like Leonardo di Caprio. And 007’s favorite was the house where Eli and Peyton Manning grew up. Their parents, Archie and Olivia still live there! What a testament to their family traditions. They could live anywhere, yet choose to live where their kids grew up.

Vault for sale

This vault is for sale and it just so happens that the area code is right here in lower Alabama.

251 Area Code

Garden District Homes

Leonardo di Caprio balcony

Leonardo di Caprio once sat on this balcony. The home of Sandra Bullock.

sandra bullock home

Sandra Bullock’s Victorian Home.

greek revival

Greek Revival

creole

Creole Style Home

coven house

The TV Show, American Horror: Coven was filmed in this house.
architectural mix

A beautiful mix of architecture.

 

Voodoo Tours

We chose not to do the Voodoo Tours. But, as we were walking through the haunted city, we passed the infamous Voodoo Bone Lady. She was conducting one of her tours. Did you know that voodoo/hoodoo dolls with pins were not originally meant as a curse? Their purpose was to bring blessings to those who were stuck with the pins. It is a form of religion brought to New Orleans by slaves. I can’t imagine slaves pinning blessings to abusive masters though, can you? The religion was later mixed with Catholicism where saints were matched with the dolls. There were mediums and Tarot Card readers throughout the city. You see everything in New Orleans.

Voodoo Bone Lady

Tarot Cards

This was a fun and educational trip for us. It’s opened my eyes to a whole different side of the south’s haunted city. I can’t wait to go back. I want to tour more of the garden district. I want to walk Frenchmen Street and pop into some great jazz clubs. I can’t wait to shop in some of the great markets.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that the poltergeists are all toast! Ghostbusters may not have made it this far south, yet! But, in the words of ghostbuster, Dr. Peter Venkman:

“We came. We saw. We kicked its a..!”

 

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday, Christian Bloggers Community

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

Share it One More Time,

 

 

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Here's a Fun Idea for Organizing Photos

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked 007 the following question:

“Hey hon, do you remember what year it was that we vacationed on Topsail Island with your brother? Or when did we go to Charleston the first time? What was the name of that theme park we visited in Charlotte?”

A Fun Way to Organize Vacation Photos

Well, quite by accident, I discovered a fun way to organize our vacation photos. When I want to use something in a post (like today) or someone asked me if I know of a fun activity for kids in Charlotte, NC, I can quickly get to the folder and find the name and/or photo.

We were vacationing with family in 2012 during the Kentucky Derby. Each family decided to put $5 in the pot and each bet on a horse just for fun. I think the pot had $20 in it. My brother-in-law chose a horse that would have been a longshot to win, but jokingly picked him because of his name. We watched the race and to all of our surprise, his longshot won. It was a horse by the name of I’ll Have Another.

"I'll Have Another" Winner

That became the theme of the trip. So, when we decided to have our photo made on the beach that year, it was suggested that we do something to celebrate our “winnings.”

Princess Van Gogh came up with the idea to write the saying on something to hold in the picture. A surfboard was the perfect answer to float this into our photos.

Organizing Vacation Photos

From that point on the May 2012 trip to Topsail Island became the “I’ll Have Another” vacation. It started a whole new way to organize my photos and help me to remember years, places, etc. I have a horrible memory and this has been a tremendous help.

surf board designer

Another trip with my side of the family became the vacation of “I’ll Chick the Picken!” During a family board game I twisted my words up when I was supposed to say, “I’ll pick the chicken.” We were all laughing and to this day when my nephew sees me, he’ll ask if I’ve chicked any pickens lately. It’s the little, silly things that turn weeks of vacation into special moments you won’t forget. Naming your digital photo folders accordingly will help you keep it all organized and it’s lots of fun to look through, too.

If you have no way to float the saying into your vacation photos, then write it onto a picture in photo editing and make that the album cover.

I'll chick the picken

Happy photo organizing!

 

 

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday,

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

Share it One More Time,

 

 

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Forever Stamps

Emily Dickinson once wrote something that describes the value of a handwritten note:

Sunset in a Cup

When was the last time you received a handwritten note?

Are you like me and felt someone had brought you the sunset in a cup? Did you want to leap like new morning and thank the weaver of the “breadths of blue”?

breadths of blue

Yes, this describes perfectly how I feel when I open the box at the end of my drive and find a note written with the hand of dear friend. There’s no glare of a computer screen, and no pop-up distractions. Just for a minute I feel we are connected, no matter the miles that separate us. It’s nice to sit with note in hand and imagine where she sat as she thought of me. To wonder what her day is like and if she knows the value of this sunset in a cup?

Addressing Letters

Decades ago, in Ms. Robey’s English class I read of a woman who sat down every morning to address her letters. I can’t recall the book, but the description comes to mind every time I take out my stationary. (This is my paraphrased version of what I remember.)

The morning sun streamed through the window and cast long beams across the paper and inkwell. She sat her teacup atop a book of poems. Her gaze stretched far across the hills where the clouds cast shadows across the terrain.  The smell of musty paper, ink and steeping tea reminded her of another time.

teacup and poems

Her desk was small and had daintily curved legs with just enough room for her dress and petticoat to fall spaciously to the floor. With pen in hand, she turned her thoughts toward her friend, and began to share her world.

desk and chair

My Small Desk

I bought this desk in 1997 in an antique shop in Mobile, AL.  I stood there daydreaming about a classroom in Trussville, AL.  I remembered the passage from a random story where a woman sat and addressed her letters.  This became my bedside table where I stored my stationary and thanked generous friends for random acts of kindness.

desktop

There were stains on the leather from teacups or coffee mugs. I have added a few myself over the years. A cold glass of sweet tea or two with water droplets puddling under the glass. It doesn’t matter to me. It adds character to the desk.

pen and stamps

Spreading out my supplies, I’m ready to address my letters. It was brilliant of the Post Office to introduce forever stamps. It’s just how I feel about my friendships.

The Value of a Handwritten Note

The folded note is an easy way to send a quick note. No need for an envelope, just write the note, fold, seal, address and stamp.

forever stamps

Life unfolds like the opening of a flower…

Each moment bringing its own kind of beauty.

Count the Day Well Spent

Opening Flower

To share these moments with our closest friends and family bonds us to them just like a forever stamp. The value never depreciates. George Eliot said it best:

If you sit down at set of sun                                                                                                                 And Count the acts that you have done,                                                                                                  And, counting, find                                                                                                                             One self-denying deed, one word                                                                                                        That eased the heart of him who heard,                                                                                                  One glance most kind                                                                                                                           That fell like sunshine where it went —                                                                                           Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,                                                                                               You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay—                                                                                                 If, through it all                                                                                                                                   You’ve nothing done that you can trace                                                                                               That brought the sunshine to one face —                                                                                                 No act most small                                                                                                                                 That helped some soul and nothing cost—                                                                                       Then count that day as worse than lost.

One handwritten note can count our day well spent.

 

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Jess July 19, 2016So cute. 🙂 Love the ideas!

I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipe, crafts, and tips:https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

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Jenna July 12, 2016Looks great Kim, new landscaping is almost as good as redecorating! It’s like having a new house!

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Lori July 12, 2016Gardening can be so fulfilling! Hoping everything grows, grows, grows!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and linking up at Dishing It & Digging It! 🙂

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Kim BurdetteJuly 12, 2016From your mouth to God’s ear! Thanks for the party, Lori!

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Nikki Gwin July 11, 2016Hello from Hueytown! Looks like you found a good landscaper this time. These choices should be much better. Those tea olives, although I love them and I have one of my own, get WAY too big to be that close to your house!
🙂 gwingal

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Kim BurdetteJuly 12, 2016Hello Hueytown! It’s nice to meet you! So glad you stopped by and yes, I agree about the tea olives! They were here when we bought the house.

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Christine July 11, 2016Loving the transformation you did! I admit Deer are not routine visitors in my yard due, so I am so sorry! I would be so upset if someone came by and decided my bushes were dinner. LOL
Love your new shrubs, they are going to look amazing when they fill out.

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Kim BurdetteJuly 11, 2016Thank you, Christine! It has been quite the challenge to plant things that I love that they don’t!

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Laurie at Pride in PhotosJuly 7, 2016Yes, life is just TOO short, for boring anything! Your lawn looks marvelous!

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Kim BurdetteJuly 11, 2016Thanks so much, Laurie! You are a dear! The kind I welcome into my backyard!!!

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