Monday, January 16, 2017

It has been awhile since I have posted. I guess I haven't really wanted to see it in words on a page so I have avoided writing about it. We've experienced a great loss in our family with my mother passing away in December. The weeks leading up to her death were excruciating. She became very ill and was hospitalized at the end of October and then eventually passed away on December the 3rd. I am comforted by the fact that she was a christian and that she is now in heaven and is suffering no more. But I miss her.
My sweet Mama

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Painting again after 30 years of not painting.

When you are a busy mom raising 5 children and managing the responsibilities that go along with being a pastor's wife you don't often have time to pursue interests in hobbies that you once enjoyed.  I used to like to paint, draw and participate in creative hobbies.  I had not even picked up a paintbrush (well not the kind you use for painting pictures anyway) in over 30 years!  Now that I only have a few children left at home I recently decided that I wanted to see if I had a spark of creativity left and pick back some hobbies that I once had interest in.  My husband suggested that I try to paint again.  So once the college kids headed back to school I decided to get out the oil paints and take a class with an artist that would help me get back some of the basics that I had forgotten.  This particular class she teaches helps you to paint a painting from a photograph.  Since we loved our time living on the coast of South Carolina I knew right away that I would paint a marsh scene.  I took this photo below at one of our favorite Lowcountry spots that we enjoyed walking at frequently. This at an old rice plantation in Charleston. Caw Caw Interpretive Center Park is a must see if you ever visit the Charleston area.
 Here is my painting that I painted using the above photograph as a guide. I just finished it yesterday! It felt really good to paint again. I'm realizing that I still have some of that creative ability that has been dormant for a long time.  I really enjoyed trying to capture the feel of the lowcountry marsh in my painting. No, it's not perfect and I made a lot of mistakes but I'm learning! I'm also learning that we are  never too old to pick up a former hobby or start a new one!!!
My painting
One of the things I enjoyed most while painting this picture was thinking about the beauty of the marshes and how God didn't have to create them with such beauty but He did!  As our family walked this old rice plantation on many occasions our talks would be about God and thanking Him for His beautiful creation.  We have wonderful memories meandering our way through the old rice plantation looking for alligators and birds and just enjoying being together as a family. Picking up the paintbrush again has been good for me. Every time I walk past this painting I will be reminded of special moments with my family and our enjoyable times together at Caw Caw. (Minus the killer mosquitos!!!) Notice, I did not include those in my painting!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Annual Apple Orchard Outing

I'm a little behind on posting. I was trying to hang on to the last bit of summer but packing up the college kids to head back to school and starting school for our youngest still at home I found myself in a whirlwind and here we are smack dab in the middle of Fall! Weeks ago we took our annual trip to the mountains to our favorite apple orchard.
 We've been going to the same place since our children were really small.  It is always such a fun outing.  Our favorite little orchard that we fell in love with years ago was somewhat off the beaten path. But just like our children, the orchard has grown and changed over the years. This year was very crowded.
 Other people must have found our little secret orchard and realized what a great place it was too!
 We filled our baskets with fuji, granny smith and a few honeycrisp apples (they had mostly been picked by the time we went apple picking).
 Wonderful family memories have been made at this old apple orchard. I like looking back on the pictures from year to year to see how much the kids have grown.

What a beautiful day it was in the mountains!
Our children
 I'm so thankful for the chances that we have to all be together at the same time. It seems rare these days with the kids away at college and medical school and everyone has different schedules but these are treasured moments indeed.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer Vacation

When pondering our vacation this year we decided to keep it close and head to one of our favorite spots on the coast. We enjoyed walking miles and miles on several different beaches.
 I seem to be most like myself when I am at the beach. Something about the smell of the coastal breezes combined with the sound of the waves and the feel of the sand makes my mind slow down and rest. Maybe that's how God intended it to be. You certainly can't look at the vastness of the ocean or the beauty of a magnificent beach sunrise or sunset without thinking about the greatness of God.
 Vacations seem a bit different now that we have one son that is married. Due to his schedule with medical school already in session they weren't able to make it down but for one night. One thing though that never changes is the inability to get a great snapshot of all the kids looking at me with everyone smiling and eyes open at the same time. It's just not going to happen!
 We had a birthday girl during our vacation and she wanted to celebrate by going to an old plantation and having tea at the cutest little tea room there.
 Our lovely southern belles!
 Such a flair for the dramatic!
 We really enjoyed our vacation and family time together. It went by too fast though. I'm already looking forward to our next trip to the coast.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Our daughters were heading out for a some sister time today and they just looked so beautiful that I had to snap a few pictures!
Our daughters
 They are a bit like night and day in their personalities. But both of them have just the best personalities!!
 I am so proud of both of these young ladies.  They love the Lord and desire to serve Him. I'm excited to see how God will guide and direct their paths.  Here is what they look like when they are tired of me snapping pictures!!! Ha Ha!!!!
Happy Saturday!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Country Retreat

We sold our city house a few months ago and have been concentrating on fixing up our country house. We have a "fixer upper" on some country property that we own. There is always a work in progress and we are in some stage of various DIY projects at any given time. Here are a few scenes from today at our country retreat.

It's a quiet retreat in a peaceful setting inspite of needing some "fixing up".  We have wild blackberries growing in abundance. They are just beginning to turn.
Lots of pretty wildflowers and things growing that I can't identify. I think it's fun though to look up plants and herbs and try to figure out what we have growing wild on the property.
 We finally finished the driveway. It was under water for months last year resulting from the great flood that we had in our part of the state.

 We try to walk the property every day with our aussie. He's going on 13 years old now and has to take a little break once in a while on our walk.

 Our first tomato has made its appearance in the garden.
 The evenings are beautiful this time of year with a pleasant breeze. The night sounds were beginning to start. Crickets chirping and the sound of the mourning dove made me want to linger a while longer this evening hoping to get a glimpse of the deer as they come out and feed.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Celebrating major achievements

Quite a bit of celebrating going on lately! Watching your children work hard and meet goals and achievements is so rewarding and makes my "Mama's heart" swell!  Our daughter in-law graduated yesterday and we are so proud of her. It seems it was just weeks ago when our son graduated from the same college and these two were about to get married. A year went by way too quickly!
Our daughter in-law and our oldest son
 Such a gorgeous day it was!!!! Perfect for an outdoor graduation ceremony. I really enjoyed the message to the graduating class and felt like it should be an encouragement to all of us. We shouldn't settle for less than what God has planned for us. Keep persevering and press on!!!!
Our oldest daughter with her sister in-law
 We are also excited to announce that our oldest son recently accepted the air force scholarship for medical school!  We have watched our son persevere as he has pressed forward in the direction that he feels God wants him to go.  He has worked so hard and been so faithful. We were not surprised one bit when he received word that he had been selected for this scholarship.  I can't wait to see what adventures are ahead for these two!
Our son and daughter in-law 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

We celebrate 27 years of marriage this month!
This is our anniversary month and we had the opportunity to get away for a night and stay at a cute little bed and breakfast in the mountains. There was still some snow up in the mountains but we were cozy and toasty. 
Speaking of toast, we were served a delicious french toast breakfast at the B & B that we stayed at. It was so delicious! My company was even better though! I've been married to this man for 27 years and I am thankful for every moment we have together.

Soaps at the Blue Ridge Soap Shed
I also was able to spend a whole day at the Blue Ridge Soap shed with Dr. T and his wife Karen, learning more about soap making so that I can make larger batches of soap. I was like a sponge taking in all the information.  It was so much fun to hang out with a master soap maker for a day and see how he makes and produces literally tons of soap. They were so helpful in mentoring me on my soap making journey!  Just a small little adventure for one night and a day but we had a great time! Now I'm off to make soap!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

We started out the new year celebrating our New Year's baby who turned 21 this year! She is such a lovely young lady and we are so proud of her and her accomplishments. We call her our Sunshine because the moment that she was born it was as if a ray of sunshine entered our lives. I just watched her drive down the driveway a few moments ago as she is headed back to college. I waved until I couldn't see her little car any more. I confess that I had to wipe a tear or two as I watched her leave. I love nothing more than having all my kids at home and under the same roof. I am thankful for each minute that they are home and we are all together.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

We decided to do a little something different this Thanksgiving. We were unable to all be together for the main Thanksgiving day meal so we decided to invite everyone out to our country home at sunset for a fireside cider sipping and marshmallow toasting get together.  
We had a perfect evening. It was relaxed and simple to pull together. Most of all just a fun time hanging out with our family and enjoying being together. 
Our son and our lovely daughter in-law
Our college children were home all at the same time and the newlyweds were here in the evening. I am always in my element when the kids are all home at the same time.
Our girls and our Aussie Bogie (Best Dog EVER)
Our dog loves it too when all of the kids are home. He thinks that they belong to him.
Trying to get the perfectly toasted marshmallow without dropping it in the fire is quite an art!
We have much to be thankful for.  I'm so thankful for the Lord's hand on my life and how He has blessed my family. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

White Coat Ceremony

 Today was a special day for our family. Our oldest son is in his first year of medical school and today he reached a milestone. The white coat ceremony is a celebration of achievement and rite of passage after the first block of medical school is completed. It is a symbol of hard work, hours and hours of study time, competing for high scores on tests to get into medical school, maintaining a high GPA and I could go on and on. Let's just say, this "cloaking" of the white coat is a big deal!!!
Our son getting "cloaked" in his white coat
This moment was long awaited for! Watching all of these students reach this point in their pursuit of a  career was pretty amazing. I cried over kids that weren't even my own especially those who were cloaked by a parent or sibling that was already a physician. 
 I can't even begin to describe how proud we are that our son has made it this far in his journey to becoming a physician. He's going to make a great doctor!
We are proud parents for sure!
Our son told us when he was only 2 years old that he was going to be a doctor. He has never swayed from that and now at 22 he is in his first year of medical school.
 I think he's going to be good friends with this fellow!
Our family
What a wonderful day! I am blessed that God has given me a great family and that we celebrate one another well. I'm looking forward to celebrating more achievements and milestones in the days and years ahead.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Apple Picking!

It's that time of year when we make our annual trek up to Hendersonville to pick apples. We've been going to the same apple orchard since our children were small. Such great memories here. Also it's a great transition from summer to fall to go on our annual apple picking trip.  We look forward to it.
 This year though when we reached the apple orchard that has been the same for all these years, we noticed some changes. Building were torn down and rebuilt. It wasn't the same. Change happens.
 It's part of life. Children grow up, go off to college and get married. The lovebirds went on their first apple picking adventure as a married couple. They are so fun to watch!!! Our family is growing up. It is bittersweet. Walking throughout the apple orchard I was remembering our children as babies and toddlers when we had to hold their hands & carry them through this orchard. My husband would put them up on his shoulders so they could reach the apples. Now they are taller than we are! We're moving into a new season of life.
 Seasons come and seasons go. There is always a sense of loss when we transition but there is always the anticipation of a new season. Just like we anticipate our annual apple picking trip. It's a sign that Fall is almost here.

 We're sad to say goodbye to summer but look forward with anticipation the delights and joys that fall brings. Each season brings it's own treasures!  As we ended our day we stopped at a little outdoor restaurant and enjoyed the gorgeous weather eating outside with our family. I loved and treasured every minute of our time with all of us together. This cute little rooster serenaded us during our meal with a cockle-doodle-doo!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wedding Day!

Our son getting ready to say "I Do"
Photos courtesy of Jana Candler Photography
Be warned! This post is a bit photo heavy but just know that I could have posted about 500 more pictures!!! It's not everyday that your first child to get married happens. I mentioned a few weeks ago that our oldest son got married, well now, the wedding day pictures have come in. They are excellent!  All of these pictures posted here were taken by Jana Candler Photography.  If you need pictures done and you live in SC I would highly recommend
 Our son has had a lot of excitement lately. He just graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Biology, was excepted into Medical School and married his beautiful bride all within a few weeks of each other. We are so proud of him!
My lovely daughter in-law and me!
 I prayed for my daughter in-law beginning many years ago when our son was first born. I prayed for her safety and that she would be growing in a Godly home and that there were people in her life who were loving her and helping her to grow spiritually. I am amazed at God's goodness in bringing this lovely young lady into our lives.
 The beautiful Bride and her lovely bridesmaids just took my breath away!
Our 5 children
 Each of our 5 children were in the wedding. I thought it was so special that our girls were both bridesmaids and our younger sons were best men!
My husband and our 3 sons
 Even more special was that my husband performed the ceremony! So blessed!!!
My daughters and me!
 The wedding colors looked so great together.  The peach & navy scheme looked beautiful with just a touch of a nautical theme here and there.  Very classy!
 It was so sweet that the Bride & Groom exchanged letters behind the door before the wedding. (No seeing the Bride before the wedding!)
 My husband was so honored that he was asked to officiate the ceremony. One of the perks of being an ordained minister is to be a part of such glorious occasions in the lives of people. Especially so if that involves one of your own children. I'm not sure how he managed to do it without crying or getting choked up, but he did.  The comments we heard from the wedding was that it was one of the most Christ centered weddings that most had ever seen.
Saying "I Do"
 What a lovely thing to witness and be a part of.  Two Godly people whom the Lord has brought together to be joined in matrimony.  God is good!!!
Mr & Mrs
 Nothing sweeter than watching them share their first dance as a married couple. My heart was about to burst with joy and gladness.  I still feel that same way as I share these pictures. I'm so happy for them!!!
First dance
 It was a picture perfect day and a picture perfect wedding celebration!
 Our family has grown. I now have a new daughter!!!

It was the perfect day!!!