Sunday, December 10, 2017

Today

My prayer for today.  Though, I fail and fall again and again....I still have hope in Him.  
Seeking Hope.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas is coming! Are you ready?

Now that we are officially into December, I thought I would pop in and check on how everyone is doing with Christmas preparations?  Me? Getting there....s-l-o-w-l-y.  I am taking this weekend off from homework and using the time for cleaning house and decorating.  We put up our main tree today and hopefully tomorrow can get the outside done (fingers crossed!)  Of course,  I don't do nearly as much decorating as I did in the past, mostly from a lack of time but some from a lack of help in some of the harder to do decorating.  Either way, this year we are again revamping our holiday traditions as it seems change never seems to stop.  

Last night my youngest son, his girlfriend and I enjoyed our town's tree lighting ceremony, complete with Christmas music, beautifully decorated storefronts, and even a Christmas Sweater Contest (my son entered!)  There was snow...yes, snow magically fell from the sky, even with the temperatures in the 60s!  Maybe Santa had something to do with that?  

It did put us in the mood for putting up our tree and beginning to decorate.  So today we decorated and baked cookies and had a relaxed day (very much needed!) But, like everyone else, I have wondered what goodies you may have found that you love for gifting this year or you might want to receive?  Of course, I love jewelry and as I have gotten "more mature" I find I like my jewelry to have some sentimental value.  A day doesn't go by when I don't wear something that connects to my children.  It just makes me feel closer to them.  Along those lines I have seen these beautiful circle necklaces lately and just think they would make a great couples gift or family gift.  

I love these!  Wouldn't they be the perfect, meaningful gift for someone on your Christmas list? 
 Find them here: My Name Necklace

By the way, this is not an affiliated post, I truly just wanted to share something I thought was unique and help you out with those hard to buy for people on your shopping list!  Happy Shopping....and remember this season is about more than gifts!



Friday, November 3, 2017

Revamping my thankful tradition on the blog.


After I wrote my first "thankful" post of the year, I decided that this is the year to stop that tradition.  No, I don't mean I don't want to be thankful but I am not going to log in on the blog as I have for the last many years.  Truth be told...I don't have much time to do that as I am lucky to post once a week.  I am also in a place where I am thankful for every last thing...bur my heart isn't into sharing right now. My heart and life in general, is very pulled in close right now so sharing is not coming easily.  I still encourage you to share what your are thankful for this year.   


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Be Thankful....

It is that time of year again, when we start to into the holiday season and I am working on my heart to ready it for the time ahead.  This year will be different in many ways and a selfish side of me is frustrated by that because I have had to face so many changes over the last few years and it seems the very shadow of family and holiday traditions are no more.  Even as I have tried to hold on to traditions, time and life has had other ideas. 

So this year, more than usual, I need to focus on the thankful in the little things and the challenges.  As has been by tradition since I started blogging I am sharing my thankful thoughts here as part of my preparation to celebrate all that we have been blessed.

Even though my family again has under gone changes and looks a little different, I am still thankful for each and every one, especially my children.  My daughter and son-in-law are a great blessing to me as I get to watch them grow the life they desire and flourish in their endeavors.  My oldest son always has a piece of my heart and will always be loved more than he will ever know.  I am so thankful for my youngest son and his daily presence in my life.  Time is short, and I am never more aware of that than I am now.

 "Let’s grasp hands and promise to be thankful for those seated at our table, for we never know when it’s our last chance to love, listen, 
and lean on each other."
~Micah Maddox


Monday, October 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

I can't believe it has been almost a month since I have posted!  Between my new job, school and parenting it seems that my time is more precious than ever.  Trying to align life and school with my new job has been a bigger challenge than I expected but I think it is finally evening out.  Although at times it feel like there is no fun these days, this past weekend was a reminder that isn't true.  My daughter (my baby girl!) had a birthday so my youngest son and I spent the weekend with her and her husband to celebrate. 
Of course, we came bearing her favorite cake, Raspberry Elegance.  It is one my favorites as well.  She loves it so much her wedding cake was a bigger, more beautiful version of it!  Notice the candles?  That is what you get when the 16 year old baby brother is in charge of putting them on the cake!  No, she isn't 62!
 
One of the treats we had was being able to go see my beautiful, smart and talented daughter in action at her work. She also received some major brotherly love from the nefarious candle organizer!
The event we attended was sponsored by the hospital where my daughter works.  The day was kind of an end of the season/fall festival event which wrapped up with a showing of Beauty and the Beast during  "movie on the lawn night." It was fun to see my girl do her thing and see the results of her hard work.  Can you tell I am a little bit proud of her? 

The best way to describe what her birthday means to me is to say the day she was born, I changed...she made me a better person. She made me a Mom. I wouldn't trade that title or one single moment with my 3 amazing children for anything in the world.  I am blessed. 

Happy Birthday, baby girl!
You are so very loved!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Did you know Lilly Pulitzer Was Created After Leaving a Mental Hospital?



I have always love Lilly...the patterns, the colors, the lifestyle and attitude but also Lilly Pulitzer was an inspiration in more than just the fashion world.  She didn't have to do anything she didn't want to do but she picked herself up and she did what she need to do to be healthy, strong and bring joy to others. No matter what your struggles are...lets all be a little Lilly!
 
Be inspired!


Stitch Fix, Round 1!

I know a lot of people who have been on the Stitch Fix bandwagon for a long time but I never really paid much attention to it until recently when a friend ask me to give it a try.  Also, right now I have little to no time to shop for new pieces to add too my wardrobe so this seemed worth a try. 

Last week I received my first shipment.  I was surprised at all the fun that was packed into that little box!  The way it works is you fill out questionnaires on your style, size, wardrobe focus, etc. and each month (or what ever schedule you choose) a new shipment of 5 new, name brand pieces will be sent to you.  You have the choice of purchasing all 5 with a nice 25% discount on the entire purchase or you can keep just one item and sent the remainder back in the provided mailer, within a 3 day window. 

In my first shipment I received a maxi dress that was cute but too long and a bit more summery than I was interested in at this point (I want Fall clothes!), 2 cute tops, a pair of jeans and a necklace.  I loved the jeans but they were too big.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to log into my Stitch Fix account and request an exchange.  I also decided to keep one of the tops that was sent because it will make a great work or play addition to my wardrobe.  The rest I just popped back into the provided mailer and back it went. I also was asked to provide feedback for my stylist on this shipment and how it could be better,  as well as how I felt about the size, fit, quality and price of each item.  It was fun.  I was able to let my stylist know what my purpose in adding to my wardrobe is and how the items fit my style. 

I am not sure why it took me so long to try!  The great thing is, if you don't like any of items they can all go back or you can keep what you like.  I think the biggest benefit is it gives you the opportunity to add a piece or two a month to keep your wardrobe up to date and fresh without you having to step foot outside of your house!  Now, I can't wait until my next shipment arrives. 

If you would like to try it out just click here:  Stitch Fix, you own personal stylist


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Who doesn't want to be Miss America?

Is there a little girl out there who didn't, at some point, entertain the idea of being Miss America? I mean, even if only for the crown?  Isn't that why it is so easy to conjure up the tune...."There she is, Miss America......?" 

When I was little, my best friend Sonja and I, would always make a big deal about the Miss America pageant.  Her Mom was sweet enough to build the hype quite a bit as well.  We always had a sleep over and little pads for scoring but mostly I remember during the commercials sashaying up and down their center hallway in what I think might have been her Mother's crinoline from her wedding dress.  It was long and flowing and to two starry eyed little girls, beautiful and just like the gowns the young ladies on TV were wearing!  If only we had a crown and scepter to complete the look!  What fun we had.   

Of course, this was well before today's world of pageants and pageant "systems" run amok. It was a time when it felt glamorous, very exclusive and elegant.   I think the reason I still enjoy the Miss America pageant is that it still holds on to at least a bit of it's original mission and flavor.  So tonight, you will find me watching and pulling for my state's lovely contestant, Suzi Roberts!  I find myself particularly big fans of our Southern girls in general, and love that we are usually well represented in the finals! 

Harvey threw a punch at Texas last week and Irma is making a mess in other parts of the South tonight but I know our beautiful Belles will walk the runway and make us proud because that is what a steel magnolia does when she is on the hunt for a crown.
Miss South Carolina Suzi Roberts
Go Suzi!!!!


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hurricane Irma....

Living an hour inland from the Atlantic, a lot of focus this week has been watching this beast, named Irma, churning in the Atlantic.  The endless guessing (forecasting?) of where she was going to go kept everyone on constant watch.  I can't count the times I have been asked this week if I was going to stay or evacuate. After weathering Matthew last year, who was a baby in comparison, I was more anxious than I would like to admit. Irma had me nervous and not wanting to go through a repeat of last year, and the flooding the year before.  To say our area has had a string of rough weather events over the last couple of years would be an understatement.  Also, seeing the devastation that Texas faced only a week or so ago made it feel even more frightening, not to mention the wild fires burning away the lives and land at a frenetic pace in the West.

For now, we seem to be totally out of the danger zone.  After a week of seeing the forecast track right at us, it is a relief to see it turn...sort of.  Either way, there is devastation coming and lives at risk.  Now it is tracking towards my daughter and son-in-law, my parents, many friends and family and that doesn't feel better.  It feels a lot like holding your breath while you pray a hedge of protection around those in Irma's path. 

A few days ago I did my hurricane prep and already gasoline was running low in some stations, bread was nonexistent and water?  You could forget it...and that was several days ago.  I think I was not the only person planning not to be caught off guard this year. Hotels and dog kennels are filling up now as people who previously never dreamed they would ever need to evacuate towards the beach are coming here.

I will admit, this week is the first time I have thought that maybe moving away from the coast might be worth it...and then Irma shows me it doesn't matter. There is some kind of risk everywhere.  I think the issue of having to ride these storms out alone is more the drive behind my internal debate on just picking up and leaving.  It is tiring.  But, here today....it is a gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky day...who would dream a monster is preparing an attack on the state of Florida at this very moment and heading northward towards Georgia? 

Praying God's protection upon everyone.  Stay safe.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Happy Birthday, baby boy...

 
How can I remember this day, buying this outfit and that sweet, soft blue blanket like it was yesterday? Maybe because the years seem to fly by faster and faster and I feel the shadow of adulthood all around?  This was my youngest son's 1 year photo.  We lived in New York at the time and I had a beast of a time finding anything semi-dressy.  My Southern Self was looking for something with smocking and preferably puffy pants but that was no where to be found in the New York where I was.  My youngest always loved to rub your ear (or his if no one was available)...if you sat next to him on the sofa or rocked him at night he would gently reach up and rub your ear lobe.  It was his connection and comfort.  I can remember seeing he and his older brother on the sofa watching TV and my youngest would be absent mindedly rubbing his brother's ear.  It was sweet, innocent and a way that I am sure bonded them together.  Today my baby boy turns 16 (at 9:09 PM to be exact) and he is at rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast, being produced by a local theater company. Before that he rushed home to get his new basketball and basketball shoes and was off to the Y before heading to rehearsals.  He is my renaissance man. I am excited to see the young man he is becoming.


But, I look at this face and I wonder...where did the time go?  Where did my little man go?  In his place stands an almost 6 foot tall amazement.  Today is bittersweet.  I am so thankful and happy for all he has done and is becoming but I miss that sweet baby in my arms.
 
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27 (NIV)
 



Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day 2017

Do you have big plans for today?  I have had a house full this weekend since my daughter and her friends  came home to attend the Nascar race at Darlington, which was nice and always fun to have lots of laughter about.  They are scheduled to head home today and my son has rehearsals for Beauty and Beast (yes, today because the show opens on Friday) so it will be quiet around here.  I will be studying and trying to get a jump on the week. 
 
Remember, though, even on quiet days filled with solitude: 


Monday, August 21, 2017

Mama Drama: where did the time go?


I just got back from finalizing all the details for my baby boy's 10th grade year of school and we will be at Open House tonight, ahead of the first day of school tomorrow.  From the time I woke up today I was filled with melancholy and nostalgia for those days when I had three to get ready for school and the little things we used to do to celebrate the arrival of a new school year. 

This year is so different.  My daughter is now a year+ into her marriage and living several hours away, my oldest son has started a new college several hours away and living on his own, and my youngest son is going to get in his own car tomorrow and drive to school by himself.

 Gone are the days of everyone having breakfast together, prayers on the way to school, first-day-of-school after school celebrations, and the sound of their voices sharing all the details of that first day. No more days of excitement over new school supplies, backpacks and lunchboxes. Life has been transitioning to this for years, but I think the realization that I only have my youngest for 36 more months really is hitting me hard now that my two oldest are out and on their own.  I am missing the days that felt simpler and full of  fun.  I miss field trips and class parties and even them getting excited about picture day.  Now, I am lucky if I know when picture day is!  I miss the anticipation of report cards and the arrival of yearbooks. I miss picking them up from cheerleading, football, baseball or basketball practice and all the games that went with it.  I even miss those forced back pack clean outs that often found moldy snacks long forgotten.

I am not sure why the nostalgia has hit so hard today.  Across the state my older son is having his first day of school and my younger one will have his tomorrow.  Maybe it is because my daughter was home this past weekend and it was good to see and hear lots of voices in the house and my Mother was here to visit last week?  I loved life when I had a full house and being Mommy.  It is the greatest gift I have ever received.  Seasons change and growth happens and, even though I miss my babies, I am proud of who they are and are becoming.  I have been blessed.

Happy New School Year!!!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

It is August hot....in the South....

Photo: Kinship Christian Radio
Yes, it is hawt....not just hot....but hawt.  For those of you lost in this vernacular let me try to define it. Hawt is a temperature that reaches beyond what those outside of the warmer climates refer to as summer heat. Hawt is a heat that reaches inside your lungs to make the air feel 10 lbs heavier, all the while, squeezing you from the outside like a big, old sticky hug from the uncle you really never want to hug you. 

It is a level of heat and humidity that makes you contemplate whether getting the mail today is really a necessity and you pray a huge thanks over the geniuses that made central A/C a reality. My dogs even are opposed to these levels of heat as they have to practically be pushed out the door to do their business and return to the house acting as if they have run home from California.  Oh, and heavens if you decide to take them on a walk!  They look at you like you have lost your ever-loving-mind!  You can hear them thinking, "If you think you are going to hook me up to a leash and drag my furry tail all over the neighborhood...even if the temperature has dropped into the mid 90s, you obviously are new here....I will stay right here on this A/C vent, thank you very much."  And there they lay, until pretty much 10 or 11 PM when apparently they deem it acceptable to enter nature.

Now, I grew up in Georgia, with no Central A/C but I swear the minute I moved out my parents installed the ice-cap of central A/C units.  It was probably some kind of crazy 60's influenced parenting trick to make me tougher....well, all it made me was hawt (and somewhat suspicious of their parenting techniques...my brother STILL lived at home at the time....coincidence?  I think not!)  I suppose the only good thing that came out of it is I did learn to how important setting spray was to keeping my make up in place and how you need just the right kind of hairspray to truly fight humidity.  It is easy to spot those who never learned those particular lessons (i.e. northerners who have just moved down south.) I will admit those are important skills to possess...but I wouldn't have minded a little A/C love growing up either. 

P.S. I am still not ready for Fall.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Are you ready for Fall?

Photo: www.Kirklands.come
Are y'all ready for Fall?  I have to admit I am not quite there yet.  Fall is my favorite but this year I need a little more summer....even if has been 755 degrees with 300% humidity this week. 

It just seems summer has flown by!  All the stores are filled to the brim with adorable Fall décor but I just haven't mustered the interest.  I know, I know...I am resisting the inevitable but come on now.....the beach isn't done with us yet!

Maybe by this time next week I will be out of denial that Fall is upon us and embrace the everything pumpkin movement but for now I am still looking for pink & green summer joy!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Looking for Peace at the Seashore

Yesterday, my mind swirled with all kind of thoughts and emotions...you know the kind that make you question everything.  Even though I don't make the mark often, I am still trying to be the change and not add negativety into our world, but some days seem to push you further than you expect; maybe it is a day when you had plans with someone and they decided to do something else with someone else (and you aren't included) or maybe it is an unexpected bit of news from work or family.  Those days really don't make you want to play nice or cooperate with anything or anyone.  They are draining and disappointing. 

So, to relieve the stress and not just sit at home alone, I got in my car and started driving.  Where?  I didn't know, I just went.  It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I let the roads lead me.  It isn't hard to figure out, though, like a magnet it took me through some areas I had never seen before and I ended up at the seashore.  Fortunately, it was a reasonably quiet spot of sand and I was able to just sit and watch the water come in, pray and think.  I have a lot to pray about....my family relations, my future, a job, etc. and I have a lot to be thankful for as well. 

This is a season of change for my family and now our little household is down to only 2 plus the 2 furbabies.  With that comes adjustment...not necessarily bad adjustment, just adjustment.  My greatest love has been to be a Mom and I am sad to see that season ending. Although, I will always be their Mom....it isn't the same.  I have 36 months before my baby flies and when you put it in those terms it almost overwhelms me.  My other children now live hours away and it is going to take some time to wrap my mind around what used to be and what is. I struggle because I don't know how to hold us together in this season.  I thought I had it all clear in my head and now I get to start over.  Oh, joy!



Friday, August 11, 2017

What a week....

This week has not be the easiest of weeks.  My oldest son is moving out to find life on his own and heading to a new college, several hours away, in a week or so. He has been staying with friends this week and the last of his stuff will be gone on Sunday. He is actually moving out and not just to college. It is a change of season. He is going to be fine. I love him and know he wants to take on life on his own terms but as a Mom my emotions have been all over the place due to many issues.  At the very least, I can say  it is has been rocky.

Also, I am not sure if I  mentioned it, but my company phased out all Field Management within the organization at the end of June, so for the last month I have been on the roller coaster ride of unemployment.  It has meant countless hours of looking for a job, sending resumes, contacting everyone I know and fortunately interviews. It has also meant a huge weight of stress and fighting fear about the future.  This is not my favorite part of doing life alone!  I was sad to see my job go (not just for the obvious reasons!) but because I truly loved what I did and loved the people I worked with and for. I miss working with all of the sweet souls I met, but at least now I can count them as friends and not co-workers.  Either way, you can imagine this month/week has been a challenge to my sense of equilibrium and peace. 

Losing my job sent me into a real tailspin emotionally, especially since I was unaware of how invested I was in my job.  So, without it, I lost some traction, direction and a great deal of security.  Trust me when I say I have had to pray over this one.  I am praying God places me where HE wants me and that I don't run ahead of him out of fear (something I am particularly good at!) 

Strangely enough, being unemployed also has taken a toll on my school focus. Being a full time college student and working full time was not easy but somehow it worked; maybe it was the firmer schedule?  Originally I thought, "Wow, I will be able to take some time and really focus on school and just buzz through this class!" Not so, actually it has been harder to get school work done because every time I sit down at the computer I feel the need to look for a job, send a resume,  etc.  So, tonight, on this exciting and beautiful Friday night...I am writing a paper.  Whooohooo....I can feel the jealously through the screen here. 

So, I guess this is my whiny....#betransparent post of the week.  I would appreciate prayers, if you are so inclined, for my family as we transition into our new season and that what ever God is trying to teach me I will learn and it will grow me into a better person.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My love of Magazines and one I have fallen for....

Some of you may know my dirty little secret....I am a little bit of a devoted Southern Belle and a little bit of  magazine addict and if you can mix the two....well, I am just falling off the wagon and getting run over by it!  Just  the last few months I found this amazing gem and with a name like Shrimp, Collards & Grits, how can you not love it?  This is one of the magazines that truly showcases the wonderful stew that has been created by the old and the new South.  There is beauty in this place and a drive of artistry rivaled by no other region and I am so thrilled to find a publication just full of Southerness in all its glory!  Ok, now run on over to the bookstore and get your own copy because I know you want to and, though it is bad manners, I am not sharing mine!
 
Shrimp, Collards & Grits Magazine


 



Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Mess GET REAL Challange

I know what experts we are at getting just the right photo to share on Social Media.  What lighting works best? What angle makes you look just so?  How to smile so you look "picture perfect?"  I know all the tricks....but this weekend, when I thought I had the perfect back drop, perfect outfit and perfect dog... the picture taking didn't turn out  quite like I wanted!   I was shooting for a glam and adorable shot of me with my sweet Miss Macy, sort of like this:
 
Really cute, huh? The reality is it probably took a gazillion shots to get this semi-decent one, that vaguely looks like the photo I had in my mind.  The rest pretty much looked like this:

So, leave a comment with a link to your Monday Mess GET REAL Challenge and share your less than "picture perfect" not Pinterest worthy photo shots so we can remember life is REAL....a real mess!


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sometimes you are just thankful!

 
If you have read my blog for the short time it has been "this" blog, you know how much I love my little brick cottage.  If you are a house/home person, you understand this huge attachment; if not, you probably think I am a bit loony...but that is OK, too! My little house isn't perfect, but as I like to say, it is perfectly imperfect! It makes me feel safe and secure. I am thankful for the cocoon it continues to be.
 
As of late we have had some really hot days (it is South Caroline, right?) but also plenty of rain to keep everything green, as well.  One day this week I came home and just smiled because things felt so welcoming.  I guess with all the craziness going on in real life, my little home just felt right.  Maybe it is silly to wax poetic about a house but I believe home is where the heart is and for now...this is home.  I hope for a long time to come I can call it home.  I hope to make memories and watch things grow in this little brick cottage I call home.
#LiveThankful




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bright Spots for Summer

I have always loved holidays and the changes of seasons.  It is fun to change a few things up in my home for each season or holiday just to make me (and hopefully my friends and family) smile just a little bit. This week I finally took my Patriotic Décor down, which I usually leave up from Memorial Day through the 4th.  Yes, I was very late I getting it down, but I still wanted to put up a pop or two of Summer and was surprised when I went shopping that all the stores have already been taken over by Fall and CHRISTMAS!!!  The one positive thing about this whole season surprise was that what I did find  was on sale big time ( as in 90%off!)

My unexpected joy was that I found was the piece I want to use in moving forward to create the look of "MY" house and I couldn't be happier  It will be my anchor piece! My decorating style has been evolving in the last few years, and as finances allowed, I have been able to make changes...small changes, but still moving towards my vision of what I want my home to look like and be a place where I can be replenished, revived and also be a place that is open and makes others feel the same.  So today, I am feeling the Summer heat and enjoying a few little pops of summer around the house!  What do you do to change your home up from time to time?


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Robby Ott

I feel at a loss as to whether to write this post or not.   I can never make the words do justice to a Godly man and his amazing wife; but I feel the need to share how honored I am to have known Robby Ott and count he and his family as friends.  The kind of love Robby and his family shared was amazing, it wasn't perfect, but it was unfailing.  Robby was like that with most people, really.  He wasn't one to give up on someone. I know, because I saw it in his ministry to my own family.  He stood in the gap for me and my family on more than one occasion, even when he literally didn't have the strength to do so....and his precious wife, she shared him when they were pulled for time in their own family. 
 
Robby's passing a few days ago has me joyous that he is no longer in pain and struggling physically but hurting for those left behind. Our eternal perspective and our earthly hearts don't always walk hand in hand.  I was awed on Sunday,  as his stronger than me wife, spoke of who Robby was...and to watch the poise in which she shared what Robby truly would have wanted us to focus on....Jesus. 
"How can I glorify you today, God?"
~Robby Ott....everyday.
An excerpt from his obituary....
 
Robert Eugene Ott FLORENCE, SC - Rev. Robert Eugene Ott, 40, of Florence, SC, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Friday, July 14, 2017, at 6:28 a.m. at the McLeod Hospice House. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith after a five-year journey with colon cancer. He entered into his eternal reward surrounded by family. Robby was born April 3, 1977, in North Charleston, SC. He was a graduate of Goose Creek High School, where he was a drum major, and developed a passion for the tuba. He graduated from Charleston Southern University with a degree in Youth Ministry. During college, he surrendered his life to full-time ministry and was ordained on July 7, 1998. Robby loved Jesus, his family, the Gamecocks, music, and golf. He was the pastor at The Garden Church of Florence. Robby was a gifted preacher of God's word, and he ministered and brought glory to Christ throughout his life. Robby and his wife, April, were married for 18 years, but he claimed to have loved her his entire life....





Saturday, June 24, 2017

Southern Living Magazine comes to life!

One day last week I was able to do some major window shopping at the  Southern Living (yes, the magazine company's) only store in the United States.  The widow displays alone made me drool.  But when you walk in...it is all over....
Every detail, from live Southern Living Plants, to even the cutest T-shirts, everything in this store  called my name.  There was even a golf bag and club covers calling my name and I don't golf!  This is definitely a store I could get myself into some major trouble...from cute clothes to the perfect napkins and my dream swing bed, I wanted it all!
And, of course, how can a Southern girl not love a store with a variety of deviled egg plates to choose from? 
Even decorative Okra was available...now, you can't get much more Southern than that!!! 
Make sure not to miss this gem if you are in the area:


Friday, June 23, 2017

Happy National Pink Day!

Happy National Pink Day!  Life is not complete without a little pink in it, at least for me.  I loved it as a little girl and I hope I always love it! 
These were left on my doorstep today with a note from a very special friend.  She has spent the last few days visiting with me and I am so glad she did.  It is so amazing to see how God orchestrated the beginnings of this friendship 30+ years ago, but it didn't come into full bloom until the last few years.   He knew to bring us together at just the right time, when we each would need it.

Although, we don't often get to see one another, we share secrets that I can't imagine sharing with anyone else . The last few days have been late nights (2-3 AM every night) full of talking through the issues each of us are dealing with in our lives and catching up on the small details that we will often skip over in a phone conversation or email.. There was plenty of laughter and tears shared but we both needed that. She understands my spiritual battles and doesn't judge because she knows where I am.  I think we all know how rare it is to have a friend who will get in their car at 3:30 pm in the middle of the week and drive 5 hours to spend a few days with you just because she senses you need it (she was right!!!) 

Sadly, we (collectively) seem to get so busy with life and things that really aren't that important in the long term picture that we lose track of the human cost of being busy and not intentional with our relationships, whether with friends or family.  This week showed me true sacrifice just to be friend....not because she had too, but because her heart needed to be a friend. She knew I didn't need to be alone this week and so she stepped in and filled the gap.  I am taking that lesson to heart and hopeto be able to pass it along one day.  I am so thankful that by the time she left, my blessings seemed far greater than my challenges. 

P.S. Please click on the "follow me" to the right. As I am trying to get back into blogging in a more regular capacity it is encouraging to see that your are there!  Also, a little note in the comment section telling me how you found me would be greatly appreciated!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Keith & Kristyn Getty "In Christ Alone"


I woke up this morning with this song echoing in my head. It is all I have been able to hear all day. Wonder if someone is trying to tell me something? I pray my heart can hear the message.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Lost with no direction...

This morning I had to sit down and write because I feel the weight of the world on me right now from many different directions. I am struggling with my walk with Christ. I am praying but it is just is hollow. My heart broke this past week when I read about a wonderful, Godly woman who's life has publically unraveled and I felt the shadow of my past float across my path. Mostly, right now my hardest struggle is in being a Mom (and not seeming to be able to give a  Godly response and what HE wants to see from me and what my children want from me.) I also have some upcoming struggles in my job as my company moves to phase out my position (and that of 500+ others,) not to mention having gone back to college full time.  So on top of struggles and stress...I have a healthy dose of fear thrown in there for good measure.

Let me preface this with saying I am not a victim of circumstances.  That is a term I will not accept. I am just being real with my life. I am not a victim, I am hurting...there is a difference. Today I have so much to do and my body and mind just don't want to do them.  It seems my life and myself are in a battle of wills. 

I am longing for the days when I could pray and feel that reassurance and peace because, quite frankly...it has been gone for a while.  I am not asking why, I am just not asking at all.  I am struggling to trust because I KNOW in my head and although I do not question my faith one bit, my heart is not in the game. I am in no way perfect.  I don't deserve an easy ride any more than anyone else...but I am weary right now.  I am weary with this world.  I am weary with pain others are dealing with, the realities of life, ....just weary. 

I read something this morning that I want to share and I will be spending some extra time with these words trying to glean the meaning for me from them. These words were written for me, I know, but they may touch you more than any I could write so I do hope you will find something here that will make you less weary and together we can find our way back.

 These are pieces  taken from an article by Janet Perez Eckles entitled, "Ten Reasons Your Prayers are not being Answered."

"1. You’re dwelling on worry.

I was dwelling in the house of worry, I was abiding in the home of frustration and words of fear resided with me. John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

Yes, I am dwelling on worry. It is all around me and although everyone says, everything will be OK...inside my eyes are rolling and I keep thinking "that is easy for you to say."  You aren't the one with children to take care of and an uncertain future.  I am so tired of hearing it...I would much prefer a hug.

"2. You need forgiveness… and to forgive.

I prayed, but was clueless about the prerequisite of forgiveness…or my need to forgive others. Gulp.
Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Forgiveness has been one of the main spiritual goals of my life in this past year and I have made great progress.  I finally feel free of the weight I carried for so long...now, though, I feel the weight and need of a true, honest forgiveness from others.  I will probably never receive it (or know if it is granted) but I need freedom from my failings and shortcomings. Yes, I understand Christ paid for them already but right now...I desperately want and need to feel forgiven because I have carried this burden of being unforgiven and added to it regularly and quite honestly, I don't know if I would know how to feel without it.

"3. You’re focused on the problem, not the Solution.

Focusing on the situation often distracted me from concentrating and meditating on God’s law, on His promises and instructions. Proverbs 28:9 “If one turns away his hear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination."

No kidding.  Problem is all I see.  Solution seems futile and I need God's intervention to be able to see past it.

"4. You’re wallowing in the pain.

Why do we allow bad news or painful details to drown out what Jesus says?
John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

I don't know why we allow bad news or pain to drown out what Jesus says.  I am sure that is what I have done.  I am not counting my blessings (sounds simple, hmm?) but rather hiding behind the pain.  I also hold my pain inside very tightly, it is mine...stay away.  I have to learn to let go of it.  I am tired of holding it.  I have carried pain in one for or another for so long I can't remember what it feels like not to have it safely tucked inside. Time is short in life and I do not want to continue to carry this. 

"5. You’re praying, but not believing.

It was easy to pray and pray. But believing, truly believing it was done became a struggle.
Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Yep....I am unwavering in my faith but my belief is not there. Why am I not praying back His words to Him?

"6. You haven’t taken time to reflect to discover wrong thinking.

Reflecting on my past, the mistakes made, the selfish ways, the incorrect thinking and all the dark places my heart trudged through needed to be exposed before the Lord.
Psalm 66:18 “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

Ha!  I haven't taken the time to do my laundry much less reflect on wrong thinking and the lies Satan has sold me.  I can readily recall my mistakes but I can't recall a moment of clarity and right thinking. 

"7. You haven’t gotten quiet and listened for God.

In silent moments, reassurance that God heard me erased anxious thoughts.
1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

I run from the silent moments.  That hasn't always been the case but I find myself hating those moments more than anything.  Silence means alone....alone means fear for me right now.

"8. You haven’t prayed for wisdom.

Wisdom to know what to ask for adds anxiety. But God addresses that too.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts are like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

No, I haven't.  I am a twisted up ball of anxiety and I am over looking the One who could unravel it.  I am the doubting one like a wave on the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

"9. You’re trying to find the right words instead of letting the Spirit intercede.

In desperate times, the heart is broken, confusion reigns leaving us without words.
Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Lately, actually for the first time in many, many years...I have had the desire to draw and paint.  Maybe God is looking for my prayers in a different form and all I am concentrating on is an eloquent prayer to offer to the ceiling?

10. You’re not seeking the right thing first.

Matthew 6:33 ”But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." And God did add what was missing—a new awareness of my need to seek Him first. And in the process of seeking Him first..."

This point hits me square in the eyes.  I have not been seeking the right thing first.  A couple of months ago I let myself get caught up in myself and  what I wanted. I haven't been able to find my way out...because I was seeking me not Him.

Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author of four books. Her best-selling release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta invites you to experience the simplicity of finding joy even in the midst of hardship, With engaging stories, Simply Salsa gives practical steps to overcome heartache and celebrate life once again.
 

 


Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Game Changer....Roomba!

My sweet Mother and Daddy recently sent me a goody that I can't tell you how much it has helped me and changed my life!  I came home from a business trip to find a big box sitting in my bedroom and inside it held the grand, life changing ROOMBA!  Years ago, I had a first generation Roomba and until it literally pooped out from use. I loved it as well...but I have to say it is improved and when you have 2 dogs living in your house....this is a life saver.  I love it because I can just push a button and it runs about gathering all the stray, all over the house, fur that escapes from my furbabies constantly.  It tells me when it needs to be emptied, when it needs to be charged and my fortune (well, not really my fortune but that would be fun!)  I am already so attached I think I might have a heart attack if my Roomba went away!  Not only does it keep the floors cleaner, by picking up the excess hair it also keeps the hair off the tables and furniture better.  It is truly a must have, and though, expensive....so worth the money!


My planner....the unplanner day :-(

This morning, (albeit Saturday - and waking me early on a Saturday can be a dangerous thing,) I managed to wake up at a  reasonable hour on my own...or maybe the phone rang or something...grrr. EITHER WAY I had a plan today and that plan is a yearly tradition and a day of excitement! It is the day I get my new planner for the upcoming year!  There is just something about a new planner....with nothing written on the pages...only filled with possibilities!  I even tweeted that today was my official #buyinganewplanner day! 

So, I got ready, did some errands here and then headed off to Lilly Pulitzer for my new book of possibilities.  For many, many years I only used Lilly planners but when my world changed a few years ago, I pulled back from Lilly because I was doing a lot of re-evaluating what I like and what I might have been "expected to like." I even gave away all my Lilly!    Fortunately, in the last year or so, I have come to realize I am truly a Lilly girl and have been adding it back into my wardrobe because it is me.  I am bright colors, with a pop of surprise here and there. I am a dreamer and Lilly embodies that.  So, this year I  knew this year I was going back to a Lilly planner.  It is nice to be confident in my what I like and not what I may have been liking or involved in just because it was expected of me!

Unfortunately, I had my dates wrong and the Lilly Planners won't be released until Monday... whaaaaaaaa!  I am so sad.  This afternoon I was going to start putting in my class due dates and appointments and start my new year or possibilities with organization at the top of the list!   Now...I have to wait until Monday...p.o.u.t.

On a positive note, though, I did score a great deal on a super, fun phone case for only $9.00 because all the new versions are for the IPhone 7 and I am using the antiquated 6!

So...planner Monday it will be and organization will be my motivator!!!   


Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day.

I take Memorial Day very seriously.  For me it is not just a day off, or a day to play but a day to remember why we have the freedom and safety for that day off and that day of play.  If it were not for the men and women who gave all I would not have the freedom to enjoy this beautiful day.  They gave that ultimate gift to me.  I am forever grateful to them and their loved ones and they will not be forgotten.
This is how I like to show the world that I remember today.  I don't' want one single person to drive by and forget that today is a special day...always remember why we have what we have.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

She Got Married!

I don't think it could have been a more perfect day for my bestie to have gotten married.  It was beautiful, clear and the perfect temperature...even our famous humidity minded it's own business! 
 She and I did get one last hurrah together and spent her wedding day, just the two of us.  We went to a very bitter-sweet lunch, then had her hair done and got her dressed and all the details just so.  Of course, then it was off to the venue for photos and lots of nerves but happy ones!
It was a small, intimate, but elegant ceremony and their love for each other was felt by everyone.
 Cupcakes instead of a big wedding cake!  So Cute!
Can't you just see how happy she is and he is truly a gem.
I wish them a lifetime of joy and happiness full of new adventures.




Saturday, April 29, 2017

I got older today...

Yes, today is my birthday.  In all honestly, since I because single birthday's haven't been all that fun.  This year, though, I was determined it was going to be different and fortunately for me my kiddos were all about it.  The day started pretty much perfectly and only got better from there. 
 My day was spent exploring the little town of Aiken, South Carolina.  If you haven't ever been, put it on your to do list.  It is full of beautiful homes, gardens, shops, galleries. There was just too much to see and do!
 The sweetest part? I got to be with 2 of my 3 babies!
Yes, that is me, with a Diet Coke (my favorite food, you know!) in a glass bottle.  There is nothing better on a hot Spring afternoon!!!  Of course, Aiken is horse country so it has some wonderful equestrian touches every where you look...I can't wait to go back and explore even more!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Bachlorette Fun!

I can't believe it but my girl of girls is getting married.  She and I became unlikely friends, partly due to  a tattoo that I just knew stood in the way of our friendship, several years ago when we were both in the throws of life changes and lots of pain.  Maybe it was a kindred spirit kind of thing because God brought us together at a time when we each felt no one else on the face of the earth could possibly understand the pain we were going through.  We walked the path of newly single together, learned the ups and down of single Motherhood to boys, shared the war stories of dating in this season of life.  We cried together...sometimes for her family, sometimes for mine and sometimes for both.

She would be the friend that I left the USA with for the first time in my life.  She was the friend with whom I will never forget the hours of talking we did late at night as we sat on the balcony of a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean and laughed and talked and opened ourselves up as only soul sisters can.  We have shared countless hours of retail therapy and shared quite a few clothes as well (another kindred love we share!)  We have been each other's "wingman," movie date, Walking Dead buddies and shared holidays during those first years when our fractured families were trying to figure it out. We have chased the loneliness out of each other's life more times that I can count. Even though it didn't always feel like it, when we got together, we knew we were going to get through another day. We walked through court proceedings, financial crisis' and  financial classes together and grew up. Yes, it was hard...but we did it.

Now, we are celebrating her upcoming nuptials to one amazing man.  They met at a work conference last year and fell head over heals.... totally and quickly.  I am so happy for her that she has found a Godly, devoted, caring and handsome man to walk the rest of this life's path with...but a little sad too.  She will be moving to his home state in June...an airplane ride away.  I am selfish and cry a little each time I think about it.  I am so happy that she has found her "true North."  I wish them a lifetime of joy, memories and more love than they can contain. But even more than that, I am so thankful to have had her by my side during the wild ride of the last few years.

Thank you, God, for the angel with the "questionable" tattoo!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Talbots' Spring Trunk Show!

Last week I was honored to be a special guest at our local Talbots' trunk show.  It makes your day to arrive to a front row, reserved seat, complete with pink rose waiting on you for a fashion show!  I have to say the team at Talbots did a great job and presented a beautiful Spring Line!  I love all the pattern matching and the colors for Spring are lovely!  I found some great new pieces to add to my closet and since I haven't managed to shop at all this Spring it was nice to have some pretty pops of color hanging up and waiting to brighten the day!
 
The greatest thing about this spring collection is I found so many pieces that would work inside and outside of work!  For me, that is HUGE!  Traditionally, I have been a girl who loves Fall & Winter clothes but oddly enough...the last few years have found me loving my Spring and Summer wardrobe best.  I think I love color so much that I find it is more fun to shop for!  I also love dresses and skirts so they work for me inside and out for work and truly are the best in our deep South heat.  Hats off to a great job Talbots! 


Friday, April 21, 2017

It seems like more than just a year!

I can't believe it has only been a year since I was getting ready to see my baby girl get married!  This time, last year, was so busy and full of pre-wedding festivities that it almost seems like I can't remember them all!  One of my favorite memories, though, was the time I got to spend with her and her besties on Amelia Island last year. It was such a fun time. I would love to go back now!!!

My sweet daughter and Son-In-Love have shared so many wonderful firsts this past year and I think that is why it seems almost like they squeezed 5 years into 1!  There were lots of parties, a wedding, a honeymoon, a Pharmacy School Graduation, 2 new jobs, a move to a new town, new cars, a new house...just to name a few.  How can so much have changed in 1 quick year? 

The most important thing, though, is I gained a wonderful new son and my daughter is happy in her new life!  I am so glad I was able to share these memories with them and I am so proud of the life they are building.  In a little over a week they will celebrate that special 1st year Anniversary and I pray it is the first of 100 more. 

 


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday has arrived, The Tomb is Empty...but I call out for your prayers.

Luke: 24: 6-8
 
This morning didn't start the way I plannedMY plans failed.  My  plans included an early morning at our Church's Sunrise Service followed by what would have been a wonderful time of fellowship and breakfast.  My morning, though, was different.  I failed to set my alarm correctly (I changed the time but not the day!) and we overslept.  We overslept on Easter.  I have to admit I cried when I realized it, as I so wanted to be with our church family. I cried for myself...not because of any other reason. I need my church family, a church family, more than ever. It has been a long while since I have felt I had a church family and I am desperate for that fellowship that is more than just people you sit with on a Sunday Morning. I wanted to stand in unison with fellow believers and celebrate our Jesus.  But, I....overslept; something so simple
 
I can't remember missing an Easter Service in years.  I  can't remember not taking a beautiful family photo of us in our Easter finery and found myself mourning that silly small thing (which felt like a huge, jagged thing)...and then I heard...our Pastor, our faithful friend, who has been such an inspiration and support to my family for as long as we have known him is in surgery this morning. My tears became something different. In one moment God showed me that my plans where just that...mine.
 
Our dear friend has been battling Stage 4 Colon Cancer (and all that entails) for 4+ years.  Today is also his amazing wife's birthday.  They were not at church with their children as usual either....but it wasn't from something silly like oversleeping.  They were not there because they couldn't be there.  They won't have the family pictures in the same way that are typical of this holiday either.  I am not sure what the feelings I am feeling are. Today represents the greatest day in History and I want to celebrate...and my heart is breaking for my friends.  It breaks not just for what they are facing right now but all they have faced so bravely and the amazing family they have become even through the many years of adversity.  They have never given up on God or each other. I am honored to know them and have had their touch upon my life and the lives of my children.  They are an example of strength that surpasses human understanding.  Their family and their marriage is what we all hope for...though the journey they have had to travel is not what they envisioned and none of us would choose to walk. The path they have traveled has been so hard and they have held on....to God and each other.  So, on this  morning of celebration, I ask that you say a prayer for God's miraculous healing upon this man of God and that his beautiful wife will feel peace and have at least a little birthday joy today. The God I love, is great and He hears.