The Samaritan Woman In Me

Photography: Dillan Moore
God longs to meet you where you are.  In your sin and in your less-than-perfect circumstances.  He longs to give you a new beginning and a new found freedom - freedom in Christ.

Today, I'm talking about that freedom over at (in)courage.  I hope you'll Join Me.


Independence Day in Myrtle Beach, SC

This year, we decided to take our first ever extended family beach vacation.  Two of my sisters and their families, as well as my mom, all headed to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week of fun and sun. 


We rented a home in North Myrtle Beach on the marsh area.  It was in a darling neighborhood with beautiful views at sunrise and sunset.  

Two of my three sisters and our mother

One night we all sat out on the front deck and enjoyed some tunes.....courtesy of the Mister.

Natalie and Walker looking down from my and Scott's private balcony

There are always lots of laughs when we are all together :)

One afternoon, we enjoyed a trip to Broadway on the Beach.  There was lots of shopping and fun rides for the kids and teens.

And of course, there was some good eating!  Never ones to miss a photo opp, we took advantage of every prop we saw.

The first hurricane of the season, Arthur, was passing by that Thursday, so we had lots of wind and rain.  But that didn't put a damper on our fun.  We just went shopping ;)  The skies were clear and sunny again the next day.

Friday, the 4th of July, we donned ourselves in red, white, & blue and took family photos.

And we enjoyed a spectacular fire works display on the beach.

I hope each of you had a great July 4th as well.  I'm so thankful to live in America....the home of the brave.  May God continue to bless our great nation.

Beauty and the beach

We arrived in Winston Salem late Friday afternoon in time for the evening gown and personal introduction competition categories of the NAM pageant.  I was thrilled to be able to wish Natalie good luck before she had to be on stage!  

Her oldest brother, Evan was her escort on stage.  They looked smashing!

This is Abigail, one of Natalie's friends who was also in the pageant.

After the evening gown competition (which she did awesome in!), she changed for the personal introduction category.  I was so impressed by how well spoken and confident she was on stage!  You would never have known this was her first pageant.  We were so proud of her :)

Saturday morning she had rehearsals for the dance number and final competition.  The finale wasn't until that evening, so we had time to eat lunch and take a trip to the mall for a little shopping and a quick merry-go-round ride.

After that, it was time to break out the curling iron again and try to get some curls to hold in her hard-to-curl hair.

My gold barrel curling iron seemed to do the trick!  Here she is in her group dance stage outfit.  That bow is just precious :)

The dance performance they did was so cute!  I have to say, I'm very impressed with the organization of the event and how much the girls learned in such a short amount of time.  It's takes alot of courage for someone so young to stand in front of hundreds of people, but it's even harder when you  have to introduce yourself to the crowd and remember the stage walk for each category.  

There were 140 contestants registered in Natalie's age division.  Sadly, she didn't make the top 20 finalists (which I disagree with, of course), but she handled it very well.  We praised her over and over again for the great job she did.

It didn't hurt to know she was about to leave for a week at the beach as well!  So, off we went to meet up with the rest of our families at Myrtle Beach, SC for a week of relaxation and fun!

Catching up and slowing down

You see this cute face?  This is my niece, Natalie.  Before we set out for our family vacation, we were able to make a trip to Winston Salem, NC and see her in her first beauty pageant.  She was selected as a state finalist to be in the NAM (National American Miss) pageant for North Carolina the weekend of June 27th.  

To help her raise money for her sponsor fees, I organized a desperately needed yard sale to get rid of some things at home.  I have learned that I really enjoy getting rid of stuff that piles up and only keeping things that we really enjoy and need.

I collected items from around the house for several months and had the yard sale in town at my mom's house.  She lives in the perfect location and even has a carport where everything can be kept out of the rain if  the weather's not perfect.
I arrived early that Saturday morning and my mom had already set most of the things out for me :)  All I had to do was sit there and sell the stuff.  Easy enough :)

Oh!  Guess what I got in the mail a few weeks ago?  Yep, my diploma!  I was shocked at how big the piece of paper actually was.  Now I need to get it framed and hung.  I still can't believe that I'm finally finished with school!  It's a huge relief to know I don't have to worry about homework any longer.

Someone had a birthday pretty soon after Father's Day.  The Mister turned 43 years old.  Because I'm a year older than him, he like to pick on me and tell me that he likes older women ;)

We also have a new member in our family!  My cousin, Carrie had her first baby on June 19th....the Mister's birthday!  Baby Jackson weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long.  Mom and baby are both doing great :)

In other news......the critter that has been stealing my cats' food decided to try to take over their bed as well.  I just happened to turn on the back porch light and caught him laying in the cat bed!  It's bad enough that he steals their food, but this.....it's too much!  He's got to go!

Well, I think that just about gets you caught up to our beach vacation trip.  It was so nice to slow down and enjoy some family time away from our busy schedules.  More on that soon!


When the Mister cooks...

When the Mister cooks supper, we have things like zucchini boats!

I shared about this on Facebook and Instagram and some of you requested the recipe.  Well, I got the recipe idea from Pinterest (of course), but we just improvised with what we had.

Here's what we did:

Slice the zucchin in half.  Slice off the bottom to keep it stable.
Scoop out the insides and saute on stove top then add cheddar and parmesan cheese.
Spoon mixture back back into the boats and top with more fresh parm and sliced tomatoes.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Super easy and super delicious!  Try it and let me know what you think.


Lucky No. 13

Happy Anniversary, Mister! These last 13 years have been the best years of my life and I can't wait to see what else God has in store for us as we continue to seek His will for our lives! Life with you has already been such a great adventure! 

I didn't think it was possible for two people to be as close as we are, but I've come to realize that when God made you, He must have been thinkin' about me  I love you with all my heart and soul....always and forever.


Airplane themed baby shower

My cousin is expecting her first baby in June, so I was excited to host a baby shower for her earlier in May.  She was decorating her nursery in madras plaid, but I wanted to add a theme to the shower...something that would be special to her.  She works at Gulf Stream in Savannah, so I decided airplanes would be perfect!  Toria Brown, a local baker, made the cloud and airplane cookies for me.  She is so talented!

My cousin, Carrie and her mother, Leslie

punch table

I had alot of fun coming up with an idea for the cupcakes.  I decided the airplane theme on a cupcake tree would make the perfect center piece.  I bought the little plane on top at Walmart and Scott helped me make the flying banner behind it.  I wanted it to look like the plane was pulling the banner through the sky, so Scott and mama also made these cloud pics for the cupcakes below.  I know.  Cute!

I know I always apologize for it, but forgive the bad pics.  The lighting in my house is not good at all for pictures :)  Below is a shot of the food table in the dining room.

Carrie got alot of nice gifts and she is all ready for baby Jackson to make his appearance.  We can't wait to meet him!