Rocking (or Jazz-ing) at the Ryman!

Something’s always hbelaflekappening at the Ryman Auditorium!  Here is Doc Dave at the Bela Fleck and Chic Chorea concert on April 17th.  Our children gave us tickets, and we are thankful to them for treating us to a delightful evening.

The Ryman is one of my favorite music venues in Nashville.  Though it was a large auditorium by the standards of its early days, it is not so large that you feel distant from the musicians on stage.

Here are five fast facts about the Ryman:

  1. The Ryman, which opened in 1892, was first known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle.  It was not until the death of the auditorium’s creator, Thomas Ryman, that it began to be known by his name.
  2.  Hugh Cathcart Thompson was the architect.  He designed it in the Victorian Gothic Style, which was popular at the time.  Thompson designed fifty-six buildings in Nashville.  The Ryman is one of nine that are still standing.
  3. Ryman built the auditorium in honor of Samuel Porter Jones, a firey Methodist revivalist from Georgia.  Formerly an alchoholic, Jones was famed for preaching, “Quit Your Meanness”.  He converted Ryman, who was a prominent citizen in Nashville, as well as a riverboat captain.
  4. The Ryman was primarily a place of worship in the beginning, but it was rented out to various civic and other groups in order to pay off construction debts.  In 1904, Lula C. Naff, a widowed mother and stenographer, began to book speakers, concerts, and boxing matches at the Ryman.  By 1920, she had transitioned into being its fulltime manager.
  5. The Ryman is most famous for having been the home of the Grand Old Opry for decades.  It is also the place where Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe first stepped on stage together, an event that birthed the bluegrass genre.


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My three faves for surviving Tennessee pollen…

What a beautiful time of year!!  Tennessee springs are glorious.  Unfortunately, many of us can’t enjoy these mild days and lush landscapes because we are sneezing, coughing, or battling red and itchy eyes.  We are fortunate to live in a place in which so many beautiful plants grow, but seasonal allergies can be an unwatned side effect.

Nashville’s pollen count today is 10.5, which places it squarely in the high category on a scale of one to twelve.  Knoxville is 10.7.  Memphis is 10.1.  These figures are according to Claritin’s handy daily pollen counter.frommyyard

So, where do I turn when allergies get me down.  In addition to taking prescription medicines for allergies and asthma, I also turn to these little extra measures of comfort.

  1.  I use Occuvite Lid Scrub packets to soothe irritated eyes and to wash away irritants or drainage.  You can find them at most any place that has a pharmacy section.
  2.  Vicks Vapor Rub is a time tested remedy.  When I have a sinus headache and irritated eyes, I apply it to my cheekbones. Otherwise, I use it on my upper chest.  Yes, it stinks.  Sometimes, you just have to breathe. 🙂
  3.   To reduce congestion, I use Simply Saline or another saline nasal rinse.  I’m personally not a fan of neti pots, though I know people who are.  I prefer the rinses that you spray in your nose.  There are also recpies to make your own saline nasal rinse.

The key, I’ve found, is not to let allergies get out of hand before I tend to them.  With a little tender care, it is possible to not only make it through sneeze season, but to enjoy it as well.

Happy Spring.






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Did you know?


The only person in U.S. history to be both an admiral in the navy and a general in the army was born in Tennessee.  His name was Samuel Perry “Powhaten” Carter.  He was born August 6, 1819 in Elizabethton.

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Oh, Tennessee!

Todd Thomas, aka Speech, of the band, Arrested Devlopment, penned these words about his youthful remembrances of our state:oldtrimblepicture

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan…

Then outta nowhere you tell me to break
Outta the country and into more country
Past Dyersburg into Ripley
Where the ghost of childhood haunts me

Walk the roads my forefathers walked
Climbed the trees my forefathers hung from
Ask those trees for all their wisdom
They tell me my ears are so young.

My father’s family is from Gibson, Obion, and Dyer Counties, so I know the land he is talking about.  I saw it from another point of view — that of being a white child visiting white relatives.  These are two different experiences of the same place and almost of the same time, though I am somewhat older.

There’s a lot about the Civil Rights movement that I’m too young to remember.  I did notice as a very young child that the tiny west Tennessee town that my grandfather lived in was divided into two or three streets where black people, like our friend Maude, lived, and two or three white streets.  I thought that was odd, because I saw everyone interacting with each other during the work day.  It was only at night that they divided over an invisible line. People whose yards met on the line could just about shake hands across it.

My grandparents and parents didn’t think that this was the way it should be, but they accepted it as something hard to change, I guess.  They protected me from the harsher realities of that era. When I was a little older, I began to understand that there was enormous pain on the other side of the line from my grandfather’s yard.

Fast forward several decades.  The Civil Rights movement did bring Tennessee and the country to greater racial and ethnic unity.  Legally, things are much better than they were then.  Still, there are racial tensions, and they are flaring once again.  Once agan, we are having to march across invisible lines to grasp each other’s hands.

Can the group one one side of the line understand exactly what it’s like for the other group and vice versa? Maybe.  Maybe not.  But, we we can definitely try.  We can listen.  Failing everything, we can love beyond the limits of our understanding.

How are Tennesseans and people of this country to love like this?

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know one secret:  It’s one that Speech and I and all true believers in Christ share.  It’s this:

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.  Colossians 3:11

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

When Christ is all, it does break all barriers down.  Both the offender and the offended can love each other.  In the church fellowship which Speech and I have both been a part of (though in different cities), former rebels and former government soldiers in various South American countries have become brothers and sisters in Christ.  In pre-Apartheid days, we had a church made up of black, white, and interracial citizens.  People have given up wealth to minister to and to live among the poor. People have spent time learning each other’s languages and culture.  One reason why I was attracted to this church in the first place is because I saw black and white people worshipping together, not only on Sundays, but throughout the week.  We have a church in the middle east made up of Arabs and Israli believers.  Stories like this abound wherever and among whomever there is faith in Christ.

All of the racial pain that we are feeling in our country now makes me sad.  It won’t be overcome with platitudes.  It’s only with deep faith and a willingness to love across the invisible lines that divide us that we can have peace.

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Fun at the Farmer’s Market/Bicentennial Mall

rose at Bicentennial june 2015

Last Monday,  “Blossom” and I enjoyed a lovely day at the Farmer’s Market and Bicentennial Mall.  We got caught in a summer shower, purchased some lovely produce, had lunch, and splashed in the Bicentennial fountains.  Blossom was having so much fun that she didn’t want to leave for a much needed nap.

That was my first time to sample Music City Crepes, which is in the Farmer’s Market food court.

music city crepes

I didn’t realize when I was taking pictures of our plates how little of the crepes you can really see because of the foil.  I was snapping fast between caring for a nearly three year old, taking a few bites myself, and navigating a full food court.

At any rate, I enjoyed the food and will be stopping there again on some of my trips to the Farmer’s Market.  I recommend their crepe with  hummus, thinly sliced tomato, and spinach.  Yummy!  Our second crepe was a standard nutella and banana.  It was delicious, too, but then it’s hard to go wrong with nutella.

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From my Tennessee Yard


This lily was just too pretty not to share!

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Where’s Mimi — Ellington Agricultural Center

Dear Daughter, Blossom, and I went to the Tennessee Ellington Agricultural Center’s Pioneer Days celebration.  Sheep ShearingWhat fun we had!  We interacted with bee keepers and their bees, sheep shearers, goat keepers, storytellers, and a man showing us how the human sundial works.   ellingtonagcenterWe saw all kinds of farm animals, and we saw the police horses frolicking in the nearby meadows.ellingtonagcenter1

There are all kinds of fun days and special exhibits at the Ag Center.  On any day, it’s lovely to walk the trails that surround the center or to visit the Iris Garden.

Have you visited the Ag Center?

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