Tag Archives: Orlando Florida

BBQ Time! Part 1

30 May


Judy Wills


This is the final Sunday in May 2021…so this month is almost over.

And yet, I’ve only recently heard and seen that May is BBQ month!

Of course, our favorite bbq places are the ones advertising that fact!  So let me tell you about our favorite bbq restaurants.  Since there are two of them, and they are both amazing, I’ll share one of them today, and the other one next time.

I guess the bbq eatery we patronize the most is 4Rivers Smokehouse.

We first learned of it from our Minister of Music, Rick Steele.  He grew up eating there, since it wasn’t too far from his house.  The original eatery was in Winter Park, Florida, quite a ways from us, so we only went there to eat when we were in that part of Orlando, which wasn’t very often.  But in the past few years, Johnny Rivers built another of his smokehouses in Kissimmee, and we manage to eat there at least once a week.  Really good bbq!

 Our Beginnings:  It all started in a garage:

4 Rivers Smokehouse began with the launch of the “Barbecue Ministry” in 2004, when John hosted a cookout fundraiser to support a local family whose young daughter was battling cancer. This one event resulted in a passion for supporting local schools, churches, and charitable organizations, and a few years later, smoking thousands of pounds of meat out of a garage just wouldn’t cut it anymore.


Also, a   FUN FACT:

Why four Rivers? In short, it represents our family, John, Monica (wife), Jared (son) and Cameron (daughter). But they also appreciate the serendipitous double meaning with Genesis 2:10, where four rivers branch from that which flows out of Eden. Now you know!

There are 14  4Rivers locations in Florida and Georgia.  

There is even a 4Rivers Cantina at Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney)

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Orlando…My Childhood Favorites

9 Oct

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Orlando is a beautiful city, isn’t it? The art! The buildings! The entertainment! The culture! 

I am a native and have lived my entire life in Orlando and Winter Park. I was born in a wooden house that sat on blocks off of the Orange Blossom Trail. It sounds scary because it turned rough, but it was a nice and homey place back then in 1951. We ran the dirt roads barefoot and freely visited people and places along the way.

Then we moved to Ollie Ave in Winter Park. My home was one house up from the Dinky Dock Park on Lake Virginia, a few blocks from Rollins Collage and downtown Park Avenue. I  survived hurricane Donna in 1960 in that location. When we moved there we enjoyed swimming at the park. The first few nights we were there, we kept hearing people calling for help across the lake. It wasn’t really clear so we didn’t call the police right away. When we did, we told them of what we were hearing. The officers just laughed. We were hearing peacocks. Across the lake there was an area of peacocks people would enjoy driving to, stop and feed the birds. They were beautiful but loud.

Photo credit Pixabay

Then, we lived near the Winter Park sink hole. My dad once had a business in the building that was almost swallowed there. 

From the Orlando Sentinel

In May 1981, a sinkhole in Winter Park opened up gulping down 250,000 cubic yards of soil, five Porsches from a foreign car repair shop, the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool, chunks of two streets and a three-bedroom home.

On two separate occasions, I lived near Mead Gardens in WP. I have enjoyed this little park all my life. I still do. Just a peaceful little walk in Florida nature. Near that park is Leu Gardens. Another place to stroll. A beautiful place with many events.

Just around the corner from that is the Science Center and museum. Directly across the street from that is a nice art gallery that offers monthly featured artist and a sculpture garden. There is a lot of art and unusual little shops and cafe’s in that area.

And finally, not far away is Thornton Park, there are some quaint restaurants there and it is right next to Lake Eola Park.

Painting by DiVoran Lites

Lake Eola is one of my favorite places to not only photograph, but be a part of the magic it has to offer. The swans and swan boats come to mind when you think of it.

 The mornings are spectacular with it’s light reflecting off the buildings onto other buildings and create artsy reflections in the water. I am awe struck by these patterns and can’t stop photographing the abstracts I see.

Photo credit Pixabay

And of course the fountain with it’s changing colors and shooting water is gorgeous among the abstract collection of art and architecture. There are many birds and of course the white and black swans that swim so gracefully through the water patterns are all a part of this loved place. 

Lake Eola is such an inspiration for me as an artist and photographer. Below is a video I was inspired to create of the awesomeness of my childhood city I love. Come take a little tour with me and enjoy Orlando as art.

MelodyWelcome! I’m so glad you stopped in to visit. I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
What a beautiful world we live in. We all have that in common. Natural beauty is everywhere, but sometimes we are not connected until we see a picture, taken just right, that makes it really come into focus and be admired. My passion is to make a connection between the lens and your soul. Photography is my passion.
My photography passion began when my Father handed me his old Ricohflex box camera when I was 12.  It was love at first sight. I still have it. My hand was never empty of a camera since.
I am a native Floridian. I am so lucky to call it home. I was born in Orlando BF (before Disney). My family moved to the Winter Park area when I was very young. Central Florida was so simple and quaint at that time. I wandered the streets barefoot with my friends, never worrying that something bad could ever happen. My Mom used to pick the sand-spurs out of my feet. I still go barefoot. It grounds me to earth and connects me to nature.
I have extensively explored Florida and its diverse beauty. So much to see and so little time. I would love for you to join me in my travels through the images I have taken. I wish you could hear the sounds, smell the fragrance and feel the breath of it. But for now we must be content with exploring with our eyes and only imagine the rest.
Thank you for your interest.


18 Mar

My Take

DiVoran Lites

jungle divoranWhen we go to Lake Eola in Orlando, we always see something wonderful because the lake is home to black swans, white swans, geese, ducks, coots, turtles, and is a landing pad for sea gulls as well. Last week we saw two black swans building a nest on the ground using pine straw (dead pine needles put out by the park managers as mulch.) The female was inside the increasingly rounding nest putting beak fulls of pine straw around herself—that’s how she gets the nest to fit–while the male was gathering the straw in his beak and piling it up. Each time the female depleted her pile he brought another close enough for her to reach.

Last spring we walked past a tiny shallow pond with limited access to the lake. In it were at least two dozen baby ducks and one big duck for a baby sitter. This kept all the babies out of the clutches of anything that might hurt them until they learned to make it on their own in the big lake. I call it the nursery, of course. I can’t tell you how delightful it was seeing them all swimming around, practicing dunking and being free and happy in the sunshine.

I know it sounds kind of sad, but we’ve also seen a lady come collect many bags of eggs and take them to her official vehicle. The park isn’t so big, after all, about a city block in size. They take such good care of the birds there that if they let all the eggs hatch they’d soon be overrun with all the above. If I see that lady again this year, I think I’ll ask what happens to the eggs. Maybe they go to a place where more birds are needed or maybe they’re breakfast at the zoo (horrid thought, but perhaps necessary.)

God’s nature is like that. There is so much abundance we would never go hungry or have any shortages if we took proper care of what he has given us—and by that I don’t mean chemicals!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

¶ JAMES 1:17


%d bloggers like this: