Allen and I had the most amazing weekend! We attended a marriage conference in Jacksonville Florida……….Read More
So now that the holidays are over and things are settling down a bit, I have some more time to invest in blogging and documenting our busier seasons. My birthday trip seemed like a good place to start, since it’s still fresh in my mind. Some may say having a birthday in December has its disadvantages but I would beg to differ. I have always LOVED having a December birthday. For so many reasons. The lights, the spirit, the music, the magic…oh and all of that pales in comparison to getting to share my birthday month with the King of the earth! What a treasure! Anyhow, most of you know that my husband tends to spoil me rotten (and I try to do the same for him. hee-hee), so this year when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, all I could think of was that I wanted to go look at Christmas lights with my family…make a memory. I have everything I could ever wish for in life. I truly need absolutely nothing (well maybe sometimes a good massage and manicure. LOL). I’ve noticed the older I get, the gifts that mean the most to my heart are the ones that include time with family and friends…time to slow down the crazy fast pace of this world and breathe in God’s goodness to me. So that’s what I wanted this year…for my 45th birthday! What?! Can that really be so? How have I been on this earth for 45 years. Sometimes I still feel like a kid (except when my arthritis kicks in. LOL).
So since my husband always goes above and beyond to make my dreams come true (as if he’s not enough himself….he’s totally my dream come true, y’all!), and since he knew that Callaway Gardens is one of my favorite places, he planned a trip to Callaway to celebrate my birthday. Not only a trip to Callaway, but on my actual birthday no less - in the middle of the week - (which meant he had to take a day off work. He tries hard to take my birthday off each year. It means the world to me), and also invited my twin and her family to join us! What?! Seriously yall! Best Gift EVER!!! Anytime I get to spend my birthday with my twin is a slam-dunk of a gift, but to do it at Callaway, with my entire family present as well was amazing (Getting all our kids on a trip is a rarity now because of their ages…they are hard to all get in the same place at the same time. Another reasons a December birthday is a win…normal schedules ease a bit leaving room for more family time! Yay!).
So…if you have never been to Callaway to see the Fantasy in Lights, you may want to grab some family and friends and make it priority to go in 2019. I will say going on weekends is a bit crazy tho due to the crowds. If you can manage during the week, you will save yourself a lot of stress, like we did. Thank you to my amazing husband and my twin’s amazing husband for making this happen for us. The sweetness of being able to be together on our birthday, see the lights, and stroll around together and just bask in God’s goodness to us thru our families was an absolute delight…one I will treasure for a very long time!
Keep smiling & making memories together and if you’ve made it this far in this post, then you’re a warrior! LOL. I know it’s a very long one. Hope you enjoyed it.
Allen & Carol
Well this past week has been a bit of a doozy for us. After traveling for Christmas and then again for New Years, we were so excited to finally have a week at home and relax a bit and tackle a long house projects list. We had all kinds of house projects on the to-do list and were ready to tackle them! Bring it on! That’s when we hit a bump in the plan.Read More
These two!!! They are so special to us! The groom is our chiropractor and we are so thankful for him and his team at Verity Health Center in Tallahassee! and the Bride?! She is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.Read More
Words cant really begin to describe what's in my heart and what a tough few weeks it's been. Watching so many people’s lives be so devastated from the Hurricane Michael has been completely heartbreaking. And then I sort of got so immersed and lost in disaster relief that I let the 1 year anniversary of Mama's death sneak up on me. I knew it was coming but just didn’t allow myself to focus on it too much. Disaster relief has been such a balm to my soul. Truly! Wednesday I had the sweet opportunity to take supplies to my aunt’s aunt (which well...she claims me as family because well...ummm..she used to change my diapers. LOL. And she's known my grandparents longer than I have. So Yes! She’s family!). It was such an absolute delight to travel to Cottondale, Florida and meet up with her and share all the love (AKA supplies that other beautiful people donated) with her and her family. We got to sit and eat lunch together (thanks to my precious Father-in-law & Mother-in-law, who graciously drove us there & treated us all to lunch) ..and we shared the most precious conversations and tears over a Hardees burger. Imagine that! She shared her horrific storm story with me and also some sweet memories of my grandparents (who have both passed on). It was such a blessing! Not sure the Cottondale Hardees has ever seen such love and tears in their little restaurant.
But that is NOT the main point of this post. I'm getting to that tho. hehe. The next day ended up being the 1 yr anniversary of Mamas death. Ugh! I thought I was mostly prepared for it. Umm. Not at all!!! The day was full of errands and busyness with a few sweet moments of remembrance sprinkled in between (and I do mean a few...not quite enough for me, as it turns out). I am quite the processor and I really need time to process grief. I am not able to stuff it for long. All that to say that by the end of that day, I was a hot mess...emotionally. I just was in a deep funk! Sometimes that just happens with grief. By the time my head hit my pillow, the tears were still just a flowin. And here it is..the point of the post...guess what my incredible man did?! HE PRAYED OVER ME!!! Yes, he did!!! And I cant even begin to tell you the peace that flooded my soul instantly! I had been anxious and emotional all day and in that very moment, I felt nothing but peace! Really! It was so beautiful!
Soo...here it is..short and sweet…Husbands, pray over your wives! We need it! We really do! It is one of the best marriage investments you can ever make. And on that note, (prepare yourself for a silly shift)… also… eat ice cream together! Haha. Some serious encouragement and silly encouragement! Heehee. Eating ice cream together is what you would have found us doing tonight. It was a sweet reward for pushing thru some crazy few weeks together.
Just don't forget each other and to invest in each other. Pray for each other and pray OVER each other. It’s huge! Really! And sneak away together when you can and most definitely… eat ice cream together (with lots of toppings)! Especially after a crazy season!
So there it is! Our best marriage advice for you this week! LOL. Keepin it real and…
Cheering you on,
Allen & Carol
My heart is so full now that if I don’t begin getting this down, it may just burst! Oh that moment when you know you are involved in something so much bigger than yourself or anyone else. So much bigger than man can fathom or do alone. That moment when you realize the almighty God who created this entire Universe and keeps it in motion loves you so personally and cares about every single detail of your life and others lives. It is so mind-blowing! Couldn’t resist sharing!
So this past week, some precious friends of ours have begun relief efforts for Hurricane Victims. The devastation is so wide and so deep you guys! Each time you help someone you see the depth of the disaster caused by Hurricane Michael! The restoration is way beyond our scope of reach! Way beyond any of ours…alone that is! But together!!! Now we’re talking! And with God’s help…The Impossible is Possible! It really has been absolutely amazing to watch God work in providing for needs. People are donating money, supplies, time, generators, trailers, whatever is needed to help others! Oh these people whose lives were turned upside down in this storm…oh if they could somehow know how they are loved and how often they are thought of and prayed for! But wait…maybe they will…one small group at a time! And that’s where our friends come in. They began the Country Bumpkin Disaster Relief Group. Whoop Whoop! Just a couple of humble servants desperately wanting to help. And these people have the gift of influence and have contacts everywhere!!!! That is so helpful and needed in a time like this! Allen and I (and many others) want to help but don’t always know how or who. That’s where our friends come in again. They just reach out to people and God puts these needs in front of them. Then they ask for help and people step up! It’s just a chain reaction. Then others hear about it and want to do something so they either give or organize their own group and go serve as well! It’s so cool!!!! It is the most beautiful thing to be a part of! Words can’t describe it! It’s exhausting and exhilirating at the same time!
So much has happened in the last 8 days, but let me share a tiny bit about yesterday! I (Carol) went to Panama City with a friend to visit her parents and take some supplies. She had not seen them since the Hurricane and had very little contact with them, due to lack of cell service and power and such. We are finding that most people we talk to literally have not left their neighborhood in a week. They are just trying to dig themselves out and put tarps on roofs and figure out how to survive until help comes. It’s really that desperate! So after delivering a few supplies to her parents who faired well (it’s all perspective…their “well” is this: huge trees uprooting and lifting up their concrete patio in front of their house - so it now sits at an unsafe 45 degree angle that they have to walk across all day long; massive trees down in their back yard and almost resting on their house, wind and trees that demolishing their steps to their canal in their back yard that they just built, major water damage in house, no power for at least a month, etc…and they’re the lucky ones!). So …after seeing them for a bit, we went on to deliver supplies to some other harder-hit areas of Panama City. We weren’t really sure what to expect but what we found what heartbreaking! Houses demolished…nothing left but the foundation…and a wooden rocker that survived. That image will forever stick in my head! Ugh! As we delivered supplies, everyone was so grateful for small items like a small bag of ice, a loaf of bread, protein bars, cereal, peanut butter. Most of these people have not been to the store since the storm or if they have, they realized the stores will only take cash. So then there’s the realization that they just wasted their precious gas to go somewhere that was in vain. Can’t imagine. So that was yesterday. Feel free to see my facebook post for more details.
Today, yall!!!! Today is my day at home to homeschool, wash laundry, dishes, cook dinner for my family, clean up, and get ready to do it all again when the Lord provides the opportunity. I was so excited when a friend called and needs help delivering supplies again soon. How grateful I am to have time to do this. She texted saying she needs lots of “trash bags”. This seems to be the big need right now. Ice, Gas, trashbags, baby food, bread. Does it seem desperate only to me that those are peoples biggest needs in our surrounding communities? This alone should help us understand the magnitude of disaster this area has faced. So as I was doing my “housewife/mommy” stuff around my powered, AC, comfy home (so so blessed), I just thought, well I don’t really know how I will gather a ton of trashbags today. Let me just do what’s in front of me (breakfast, lunch, dinner for my fam, etc) and then figure it out. Said a quick prayer (should always be my 1st response to a need but duh! I totally forget sometimes. LOL). A few minutes later, I get a call that a church nearby wants to be a resource for us and actually has…wait for it….trashbags!!!! Oh my goodness yall! I had to finish my conversation quickly so I could hang up and ugly cry with thankfulness! I was so very grateful! The church also said that the Red Cross Workers they are housing said the way we are helping is the best way to do this…one contact at a time!! I cried over that affirmation too, as so many of us wonder if we are making a difference or even putting a dent in the devastation. These communities need us and we will keep loving them and giving to them! Yes, we all have families and jobs and schooling and every day life, but these are people in such desperate situations. Here it is a week after the storm and some of them are still needing to be cut out of their homes. Absolutely Unbelieveable. But I had to take a few minutes and share how good God is and how NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE with our GOD! He is an abundant God and not limited by this storm or resources or anything else!
Our prayer is that He will be Glorified in this and that those affected by the storm will not only have their needs met but thru these supplies and hugs and smiling faces and prayers, they will FEEL the tanglibe love of Jesus Christ and KNOW that their lives matter and that they are loved and cared for!
So…with that said…let me encourage you that you can help too. No matter where you are or how small your resources are…every little bit helps. My friend said in the beginning, not to overthink it. Just get out and do something to help if you were spared and your area is not a disasaster zone, like so many are around us. It’s amazing how just making yourselves available opens up so many doors of opportunity to love on others. So just give a small donation (ummm…or large if you prefer :-), say prayers nightly for these people (and for the safety of those helping), and/or come help. There’s so much to be done: Handing out supplies, organizing donations, cutting people out of homes, cleaning up debris…the list is endless.
And thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have helped already by giving, praying and going! Seeing the gratitude on the faces of these people as you hand them a bag of ice or loaf of bread is the greatest reward!
The past few months have literally flown by. Between keeping up with our kids busy schedules, our own busy schedules, pouring into friends’ lives and squeezing in some get-away-family-camping time we have been missing the opportunity to post for Marriage Mondays. But…seasons!Read More
This little girl, "L", stole our hearts!!! We had the privilege of photographing her in the Spring and we had no idea what a treat we were in for!Read More
We just celebrated 23 years of marriage last weekend, and we are still having so much fun adventuring together! Actually now more than ever!Read More
The 25th of July makes 9 months! 9 months since mama left this world and passed over into Glory!Read More