River Life Kayaks//Mud & Mag

I need to get back to regularly blogging, but this fall has been busy! The story we did in the latest issue of Mud and Magnolias about Millie Thompson and her River Life Kayaks business is the perfect place to pick back up though. Millie has it all figured out. She lives on the river near Amory with her dog Mac. My family has a cottage on a lake back home in Michigan, so I totally get this. I wish I could regularly be near water, so I might have to take a page out of Millie’s book and do that soon! The whole time I was shooting this story I just kept saying to myself, “This lady is the coolest. I want to be her!”

Tender Hearted//Elizabeth Banes

Elizabeth Banes, 16, wakes up every morning to feed and care for the horses, pigs, goats, dogs and the puppy litter.

She has a routine of making sure water dishes are full and medicine is given. She also addresses each animal by name, noting that each one has a personality.

The Banes’ Fulton property is home to nearly 30 dogs, many more cats, horses, goats, pigs, bunnies and chickens. Michelle Banes, Elizabeth’s mother, is a volunteer at the animal shelter in Tupelo.

“Our family has always had a love for animals,” Michelle said.

Elizabeth will regularly volunteer to bottle-feed litters of puppies until they are old enough to be adopted. Her most recent litter she fed since the puppies were 2 weeks old. Now they are 10 weeks old and were transported to a shelter in New Hampshire, where they will be placed into “forever homes.”

Elizabeth says her friends are always asking her if her family could help this animal or that animal. One night last week, her friends managed to round up an injured kitten that is now at home in the Banes’ garage.

“I think my animals are like my friends, and I like seeing them every morning, ” Elizabeth said.

Rivers Smith//Young at Heart

Meet Rivers Smith, 91, of Amory, Mississippi. I photographed her for a feature in the Journal’s “Young at Heart” issue. She is a fabulous woman, and I aspire to be just like her as grow older. Rivers rides her bicycle through downtown Amory everyday, and hops on her ride with a running start. She also exudes kindness, sending me back to the office with moon pies she had gotten to share with all the reporters.

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