The Return of Beasley

01 02 Beasley and Crackers (Large)

Beasley has returned.

And he has a friend.

Well, the truth is … he never left. Instead, he spent the last several years falling into a trap that any of us could be guilty of….. sitting on the sidelines and watching life go by.

That ended two weeks ago.

For the uninformed and confused…. A brief explanation.

After my divorce in 2009, I decided to reinvent myself and look for adventure. In the process, I took 3 trips by myself to Europe. And I do mean – BY. MY. SELF. No tours …. No group travel.

I packed a carry-on suitcase and wandered the streets of various European cities.

Some of my family and friends were a bit horrified as I am a woman who can get lost in the parking lot at Cracker Barrel and here I was… alone….. riding subways….. catching buses and trains…. navigating streets and hotels … countries where I did not speak the language.

I will admit….I did get lost on more than one occasion….. took the wrong subway….. tried to drive a car in England on the left side of the road while sitting on the right side of the car and got off the wrong exit in the first roundabout I encountered (Help Me Jesus) ….. went to the wrong train station….and so forth.

But in the process of getting lost….. I found myself again.

To reassure my family I was alive at the end of each day, I created a travel blog in which I posted pictures and stories each night about my outings. I knew, however it had to be more than “Today I went to Buckingham Palace” or “Today I saw the Eiffel Tower”.

Can we say…..BOR……ING? I was determined to NOT be BORING.

In those days, the internet had postings about “Flat Stanley” and “Where’s Waldo”. I obviously needed my own internet sensation. I found a small bunny at the Gap stuffed in a basket with some other critters. He looked pitiful so I brought him home and named him Beasley.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

Beasley, it turned out, was a people magnet. Strangers would see me trying to take a picture of Beasley and offer to take our picture.  Conversation usually ensued (assuming we spoke the same language).

On my trip to Italy, Beasley even won over Matteo, the wine sommelier. When I brought Beasley out of my purse at lunch and tried to explain to Matteo about Beasley…..well ……. Matteo was courteous but gave me this polite raised eyebrow look.

However, 15 minutes later, it was Matteo suggesting that we needed to take a photo of Beasley drinking a glass of wine.

01 09 05 J and B (Large)

Ah Beasley…………….such a charmer.

Yet, the truth was…..this small bunny helped me write the story of those trips in a manner that I would have never been able to do on my own. And he also made me look more closely at my surroundings ….. not only seeing them through the lens of my camera but through the lens of humor.

Since my last trip to Europe (October 2012), Beasley has spent most of his time on a shelf in my home watching life go by.

My granddaughter felt sorry for him and several months ago, gave me a small stuffed animal to sit next to him—fondly known as Mr. Lion.

I am not sure where Mr. Lion came from but I think he must have had a hard life. Like some of us, he has been knocked around a bit. His hair is straggly and his eyes are attached in a lopsided manner; he has a scruffy beard; his arms are extra-long …but he has a wonderful smile and I think he has a sense of humor.

01 10 (Medium)

So, earlier this month—after not traveling for several years, I joined my brother on a week-long trip to Oregon. My brother, when he is not running the family insurance agency in Miami, is a professional photographer and his photos are breathtaking. My blog headers are from his landscape collections. This was going to be our first brother-sister trip.

My granddaughter wanted to know if Beasley would be joining us and at first I said no but seeing the disappointed look on her face….I told her that Beasley and Mr. Lion would travel with me and I would send her 2 or 3 pictures each day of their outings.

Once again, I had no idea what I was getting into.

My brother would hike various trails and look for the perfect spot to take his pictures. I tagged along behind him—bunny and lion in my purse—iPhone in my hand—looking for ways to convey to my grandchildren what Nana was seeing and doing.

The irony did not escape me—here was my brother with his national geographic style camera equipment and tripod and there I was – in the midst of nature and trails and waterfalls trying to tell a story with a small bunny and a lion and an iPhone.

And yet…we each were doing the same thing…..  trying to capture and share the beauty around us with others. 

It has almost been three years since I traveled. I have been playing it safe these last three years. I have been, on some levels, sitting on the sidelines and watching life go by—I quit looking for adventure.

It is time for that to end.

I have a small bunny and a lion sitting on my shelf at home and they now remind me of the importance of NOT settling for less when I am capable of doing and experiencing more … whether it be in my professional life or my personal life.

For the first time….. in a very long time…I am truly excited about the unknown.

And….. some final thoughts for my granddaughter—who also likes to write stories and take pictures—

Beasley and Mr. Lion enjoyed their trip. They behaved (most of the time) and they liked hiking, seeing new sites, and going on adventures. Thank you for suggesting I take them with me.  It will not be their last trip.

Perhaps one day you and I can also take a trip with them….. one in which we write our own story….

And take pictures together.



For your enjoyment—a few pictures from the real photographer and the iPhone photographer—different in style but still sharing the beauty we saw…..

River Bridge

10 River Bridge (Medium)

Trillum Lake

11 Trillium Lake Negative Two

Koosah Falls

12 Koosah Falls (Medium)

Beasley and Mr. Lion share a chicken biscuit at the Atlanta airport


Crater Lake


McKenzie River View

29 (Medium)

Mr. Lion lends a helping hand at Koosah Falls


Huckleberry ice cream


Picnic with Uncle Joe

27 (Medium)

Hiking an Oregon Trail

28 (Medium)

Coffee with Nana

30 (Medium)

Flying Home–Are we there yet?


Waiting for the next adventure



Link to the real photographer’s web site: Joseph C. Filer – Fine Art Photography



19 thoughts on “The Return of Beasley

  1. This is awesome post. I see a children’s book about Mr. Beasley and Mr. Lion it is so waiting to be written courage to try new things from a child’s view point I think that is missing today.

    • Thank you. I have no idea at age 67 what I want to be when I grow up but I do keep thinking about writing a book one day. I appreciate your kind words.

  2. Great to see Beasley again. He is definitely your alter ego, bringing fun and whimsy to life. I love the addition of Mr. Lion who adds a new dimension to your stories and pictures. Love it!

    • Thank you..I love the different expressions on their faces and it was fun trying to figure out how to make them interact with each other! And my alter ego is determined to have a bit more fun and whimsy in my life! jfh

  3. I love the idea of a children’s book with Beasley and Mr. Lion!!!! Illustrated with pictures from your iPhone!

    And, as I’ve said before…. each of your monthly blogs would make a beautiful chapter in an inspirational book! They certainly inspire me!!! ❤️

    • Thank you! I have never thought about a children’s book… who knows what direction I will head but I am beginning to think it is time to at least THINK about writing a book!

    • Would love to see you also and catch up. I have a variety of “to do” items to clear through in August but September is wide open. We can plan on a get together then and I will touch bases with you at the end of August!

  4. What a clever idea for writing about trips.

    I’m not saying Beasley looked lonely in the first pictures, but I just detect a slight smile in the pictures taken with Mr. Lion. I think Beasley definitely likes having a wingman!

    • You are, as always, very observant! Beasley definitely liked having a wingman—someone that he could get into a bit of mischief with! HA…

      And just for fun, below is the link to the old Travel Blog for you to look at when you get bored between PT for your hip… those days I used the slide show format for pictures but you can click the arrow to make them go by faster!! (You may need to copy and paste the link). Enjoy! And Hope your recovery is going well.

      • Hi again, Janet. Just had a chance to peruse many of your “travel posts.” What a wonderful experience, both for your enjoyment and confidence. I must admit, as a “shepherd” type, I would have been with your family worrying about you constantly. Guess I’m still old school that way.

        Also, I didn’t comment much on your Oregon trip but it looked fabulous. What a wonderful part of the country to explore.We had a exciting trip that way a few years ago.Here’s a post about it and as you read you will see there is quite an alarming twist to it.

        Say hi to the “Beas.”

      • I absolutely adored your Oregon story! Fabulous! And yes, the world really is filled with nice people—they just usually do not make the front pages of the newspaper or a video that goes viral. The unsung heroes are out there everywhere!

  5. I’ve just finished reading the tale of Beasley and Mr. Lion in Oregon, and i’m so in love with those two precious characters!! I know it’s easy for me to say, sitting here waiting for my broken leg to mend with loads of time on my hands, and you with your busy professional and personal life, but I’ve read books to my grandkids by Presidents and First Ladies about their rather ordinary pets, and Beasley and Mr. Lion are sooo much more enchanting on every level. I can’t wait to read more about them and their sweet adventurous little hearts!!

    • Thank you! I am not sure what their next adventure will be…. and how much mischief they will create… but I will make certain I share their story! jfh

  6. Janet, I finally found the time to sit and read of few of your blogs. They are wonderfully written and very poignant, and thought provoking. Love that your grandchildren are inspiring you and stories to share. It was great seeing you recently and would love to catch up in the future. Much love,

  7. Nancy, I am thrilled to know you have read some of the stories and enjoyed them. I would love to meet you for brunch or lunch one day. Should I send you some dates via the yahoo email address I have or is there a new one? You can send me a email via the email address for this account on the Talk to Me page or use my personal gmail account from the past. Looking forward to it. jfh

  8. Pingback: Unwrapping the Best Christmas Gift | Faith and Courage: The Joys of an Ordinary Life

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