There is a concept in Southern Baptist tradition called Revival.  It’s based on the premise that even though you are completely convicted about your belief system, occasionally you need to be reminded of the grand nature of it, and the best way to do that is through an emotional, spiritual experience called Revival.  It literally means reviving those feelings of awe and joy you associate with your beliefs, but because of the nature of life, you may at times not be able to fully access.

I’m going to apply the concept of Revival to blogging.  I love this blog, this beautiful, training/eating/traveling/child-showcasing/book-reviewing/opinionated blog.  I love the process of it – the seeding of an idea in my mind, the marinating part, the fleshing out/developing part, and finally, the click of my fingers on the keys writing part.  But I find that days and days pass without my posting an entry.  I have begun to identify part of the problem.  I’m a sucker for pictures.  Sometimes I’ll think of a post to make, then I’ll try to create the pictures to enhance it.  I still want to do that, but I’m committing to creating entries that DON’T have the visuals.  Gah – guess I’ll have to make up for it with good writing.

Having said that — here are some pictures!  That’s another part of the problem – I live a fairly busy life, always have my cheapass camera with me, so even though they are of questionable quality, I usually have pictures of my significant events, slowing down the blog process even more!  Since I don’t want to take fewer pictures, I’ll simply make the effort to streamline the retelling a bit.  (HAH!)

Obligatory bike ride picture - the HOT 100 in Murfreesboro

Mass start at the HOT 100, an annual bike ride in Mboro, beginning at Lascassas Elementary school and offering 14, 33, 66, and 100 mile supported routes.  Jesse did 66, I did 33, and there is a reason it is called the HOT 100 – so hot and muggy I was drenched by mile 12.  Weird having Demo’s catering serve out of the cafeteria where my children went to school through 8th grade – used to seeing chicken nuggets, baked beans, french fries, and fruit cups in there.

Knoxville Mellow Mushroom with the wonder twins

Next is a trip to Knoxville to bring the girls the crap they forgot when they took their first load of crap to Knoxville (no offense, girls, my stuff is my crap too).  We got Glenda a mattress and Amy a kitchen table to complete their adorable apartments.

Amy not cooperating with the photographer on her bed

Don’t know how I missed not getting a pic of Glenda in hers, but that will come.  A couple of nights before I got there, Amy had been splashing about in a series of puddles, and found a storm grate.  A raised storm grate.  With her 4th toe.

Notice the appetizing purple bruise that extended to the bottom of her foot.

Next is one of my favorite ways to take a picture of my girls.  I have them from the back in London, Paris, on bikes, on the farm, as toddlers, grade-schoolers, high-schoolers, and now as college students.

Makes me fall in love with them all over again

Then there was the Midnight/Moonlight ride around Cades Cove.  Cades Cove is a little plateau in the Smoky Mountains that during the day, and especially in the fall, is a haven for sight-seeing tourists.  It’s about a 12-mile loop that is full of cars looking for deer and bear in a breathtaking setting.  The road is closed at sunset, and on a clear moonlit night, it lends itself to one of the most spectacular rides you can ever do on a bicycle.  The pavement is good, it is gently rolling mini-hills and it passes several pioneer-era buildings:  churches, a mill, some houses.  Put it on the list as a must-do.

suiting up
Glenda on an ancient, out-of-tune piano at one of the churches
Listening to the serenade
roosting bat in one of the houses
sightseeing score

There were 9 of us who went, and there isn’t a picture to reflect the Echo Area where we stopped and shouted and whistled and clapped.  It was over almost as soon as we started, and the idea that every month it’s just there, waiting to be ridden and enjoyed…well, keep tabs on the blog and I’ll try to give a heads up next time.  This is one of those rides where any bike will do – helmet required – and you can leave Mboro late afternoon and be driving back in around dawn, hoping your coworkers will ask you why you look so sleepy!

Eric's pasture

Then it’s off to Atlanta to take Sam to work for Uncle Eric for a few weeks.  (Uncle Eric graciously funded Sam’s trip to Africa earlier this summer, so that’s part of the arrangement).   Brother Eric lives south of Atlanta and raises chicken, turkeys, and longhorn cattle.

eggs and alfalfa blocks - we ate the eggs for breakfast, fed the cattle the blocks
at the first roundup
American Gothic?
New heifers being delivered - they are magnificent
Part of the herd

Since I have come back home, Sam and Eric have gotten his first longhorn bull.  He’s about half-grown and is black and white – I can’t wait to see him.  Sweet Grandma has named all the heifers and calves flower names (Pansy, Lily, Blossom, Little Blossom, etc) and so the new bull is, of course, Ferdinand.  He’s got a white V on his black face, so I’m trying to come up with a name that connects to that.  I might thesaurus that (rights of a blogger:  creating a verb out of a noun, and vice-versa).

Training continues (default setting – I’ll remark when I’m NOT training).  Family update:  Sam’s a college graduate, planning on doing the ceremony thing in December, girls are back in Knoxville in school, Ben is taking classes in Beaver Creek.  We’re planning a bike ride on the Natchez Trace over the kids’ fall break in October – 6 day 400-mile ride with the bus.  Room for more if you are interested…

Thanks for reading — remember my promise about posting more often – hold me to it!