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Winter Has Been Rough In East Tennessee 2

They say hard times reveal character. Well, folks in east Tennessee have had an ample opportunity to reveal who they are recently with the fires from the drought, and tornadoes.

On November 28th, a fire started in the Chimney Tops of the Great Smoky Mountains, which is one of the most popular areas of the park. The fire started out around five hundred acres, but with hurricane force winds from the weather front coming in, and sparks from downed power lines, the fire quickly spread to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The devastation that followed is unbelievable.

To date, there have been 14 confirmed fatalities, at least 134 people with injuries and over 1,600 structures burned according to local Knox News reports.

Yet, even in the midst of such disaster, businesses such as Dollywood and Alamo Steakhouse have stepped up to support the community in ways that says volumes about who they are. Dolly Parton is paying a $1,000.00 a month to residents that have lost everything in the fire. The owner of Alamo Steakhouse is making sure their employees retain their salaries.

In true East Tennessee form, donations to help came pouring in. In fact, the Knox News Sentinel reported that officials were requesting no new supply drives for victims of the fire. They were overwhelmed by donations that were pouring in.

Although the rain a couple days later was a welcome sight in the front of fires, it also brought with it rare tornadoes that touched down in McMinn and Polk Counties, about an hour south west of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. An F2 tornado touched down in Athens, and in the Ocoee area of Polk County.

 

Even though their houses were destroyed, there were folks out helping each other take care of livestock.

Moving cattle because the fences were down

Moving cattle because the fences were down

I guess they don’t call us the Volunteer State for nothing. Folks here are living up to the name in a lot of ways.  In a world full of sadness, it gives me hope to see the goodness in people when it counts.

 

2 COMMENTS | Categories,FJ Thomas | Tags, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You’re Never Too Old 4

Think you’re too old to do something, too old to follow your dreams?

Sixty-eight year old Mary Burger of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma is leading the barrel racing event, going into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this week. She’s almost $75,000 ahead of the next competitor.

mary-burger

She set the record as the oldest world champion in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association in 2006 when she was only fifty-eight. Now, she’ll be the oldest NFR qualifier, either man or woman, ever. She and her young horse, Mo, also broke the regular season earnings record this year.

maryburger1

I’ll be cheering for Mary and Mo this week. Who’s your favorite barrel racer?

If you like rodeo and romance, check out Sweet Cowboy Kisses in the boxed set Cowboys, Bulls & Buckles. http://amzn.to/2gFetyLscreen-shot-2016-08-05-at-4-23-05-pm

 

4 COMMENTS | Categories,Uncategorized | Tags

A Thanksgiving Treat!

gobble-pop-clHere’s a fun and tasty treat to add to your Thanksgiving traditions – adorable Gobble Pops! They’re cute enough to use as a table centrepiece – but way too delicious! The instructions seem long, but the Gobble Pops are actually pretty easy to make. And mine turned out pretty close to the ones made by Canadian Living expert bakers!

Check out the recipe HERE:  http://www.canadianliving.com/food/recipe/gobble-pops

 

I wanted to make some of them gluten-free so I used gluten-free ginger snaps, M&Ms instead of malt balls for the head, and chocolate coated ginger snaps for the tails. Yum!

 

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving filled with love and laughter. 

 

If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, you might enjoy the Perfectly Series! More love and laughter for your long weekend. 😀

Perfectly Honest coverYou never know where your words will take you. . .

When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor. Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down. But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted.

Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!

1 COMMENT | Categories,Linda O'Connor | Tags, ,