Snow Days!!

This has been such a crazy couple of days!! We have had two full days of snowy fun, which in unheard of for Charleston!!

It was so much fun to be out in the snowfall. This was heavier than any that I had ever been in and it was fabulous! We had so much fun playing in it- the kids and dog loved it as well! It actually ‘snowed’ for several hours yesterday. We told our kids to enjoy every second, because it may be twenty years before they see it like this again!!

We had snowball fights and made snow cream! We were finally able to build a snowman today (since it started slowly melting and became slightly more of a wet snow). We named our snow lady Veronica and she might look pitiful… but we made memories that will last a lifetime!! If you go just a little into the woods behind our house, you will come to a small creek. We went back there twice to see how it looked in the snow and if it was frozen. The winter wonderland was so beautiful!

It was a lot of fun this morning when we first got up- we walked around the yard and could see all of the deer tracks in the snow!

We got out the kids boogie boards and slid down a ditch. We went for walks and have had two full days of family time! ❤️

I’m the type of person that can get very cold, very fast. So our outside time was frequently interrupted with breaks inside to ‘ thaw out’. But that’s ok!! We were able to get several episodes of The Flash in!

You could never stay in too long! I think we all knew how special it is to have snow like this in our area and didn’t want to risk missing out on too much!

Our sweet Jasper loved playing in the snow! When we took him in for breaks- he just wanted to come back out!

Tomorrow morning when we wake up, there will still be snow on the ground. We’ve told the kids that they can go out for a little bit in the morning, but then after that we are getting some school in!! As much as I love this snow! I feel like this right after Christmas break and all that our family has been through… I am ready for some sort of normalcy. I need routine!

I have enjoyed playing in the snow, no school, ignoring laundry, and making a big/late breakfast for my family… but in reality I know that’s not real life!

We are going to get up and savor a few more hours and then hopefully have a healthy dose of routine!!

Stay safe and enjoy the weather!! ❄️

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Goals, Goals, Goals

We have had quite a relaxing New Years Day around my house. We stayed up until midnight with the kids, drank some sparkling juice, and all crashed sometime around 1am. Allie had a friend stay the night, so I made sure to tell everyone that this morning was absolutely a sleeping in kinda morning! I got a new waffle maker for Christmas and have used it once already. I thought about being a picture perfect mom and waking up early to make everyone waffles. I changed my mind real quick. I slept in and then laid around watching tv and playing on my phone until about 10. I let everyone eat cereal or pastries for breakfast and starting making our big meal of the day. We had the traditional meal of fried pork chops, collards, hoppin johns, and cornbread. It has been a great day.

I am currently sitting here thinking about this coming year. Everyone has gone to bed at my house. Gary spent some of his Christmas money on a set of walkie -talkies. He gave one to his sister and he doesn’t quite grasp the concept that he doesn’t have to yell into them. It is quite entertaining!! 😂😂😂

This First day of the new year is symbolic- this is the day that people tend to set goals for themselves. We didn’t really talk about goals with Gary, since he is only 8. Allie did share some of her resolutions for the year and I am going to do my best to hold her accountable.

It is very easy to set big goals for yourself. Sometimes they are so big, that we quickly fall short and then just remove that goal from our radar completely. What a sad cycle!! I was thinking about the goals that I have for myself- I want to make them attainable. If that means starting out small and reevaluating in three months… so be it.

Why not take baby steps to have the best possible chance of success???

I wanted to share a few of my goals with you-

1) Bible Reading- I have always been very honest about this being an area that I struggle in. I can read devotions and verses no problem. I feel like I fall short with the diving in and really studying to go to a deeper level. I have no problem doing so when I am preparing to speak in Youth, but on a day to day basis… I’m not there. I also feel like I read chunks of verses with different devotionals throughout the year, but when was the last time that I read my Bible through completely? I started my Bible in one year plan today!

2) I want to grow. I want to grow my businesses. I want to grow my faith. I want to nurture my relationships. I want to be present. I tend to be like Martha who is busy with the details and not focused on the Lord right in front of her. I want to keep my focus in check.

3) I want to blog more faithfully. There have been many times this year that I thought about writing a post. I held back. Sometimes it was because I was busy, others because life wasn’t going too great and I didn’t want to sound depressing. When I go back and read my first post, I am reminded that God very clearly told me to start this blog. I need to be willing to be transparent in my struggles. My goal is to absolutely write more! (I’d love if you would subscribe! 😁)

4) I want to be a better mom. As a homeschool mom, sometimes it’s difficult to keep everything balanced. Add into that equation that we are also our kids pastors and it can make roles blurred. I attended a conference this year where a speaker shared about finding joy in your everyday. She shared about how you are going to want your children to want to come home for the holidays and visits later in life. I can’t live each day worried about completing a checklist as their teacher and never set aside time to just relax and be mom. So, my goal this year is to be “just mom” a little more!

I have several more, but I’m not going to bore you with all of the details. In a quick summary, I want to save more, give more to missions, and drink more water!!

I’m believing that my goals are attainable and that it is something that I can stick with! Like I said earlier, I can always reevaluate in three months and see where adjustments need to be made! Making small changes toward the better is certainly more rewarding than making no changes at all!!

What are your goals this year? Maybe you will inspire me??

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Riddance to you!

Happy New Years Eve!!

We are fighting the urge to curl up under the covers over here! It is cold outside!! I’m scared that if I get too warm and cozy, that I might fall asleep. It’s New Years Eve… I can’t fall asleep before midnight!! We are planning a festive evening of games, family time, some sparkling juice and watching the ball drop!

No matter how tired I feel right now, I have my coffee in hand and am so excited for these next few hours to pass! I cannot wait for this year to be over with!!

2017 has been a rough year for our family. I am so ready to tell it, “good bye and good riddance.” I would even be as bold to say that this has been the worst year of our lives. We have faced so many heartbreaking things- my husband lost his mother and his brother this year. We have dealt with sickness, hospital stays, planning funerals, and family drama. We have faced other, less painful, but still annoying issues during this year- a broken dryer, dead car batteries, financial stresses, and a broken dishwasher. Less than a week ago, the diamond fell out of my engagement ring and was lost. It has just been one thing after another. We have never faced a year with SO much in it.

This year has also been a year for growth. We have had experienced changes in our role in ministry. It has been an adjustment and a period of growth. He has taught us to lean on Him. He will guide and lead us, as long as we trust in Him.

We have to believe and trust that 2018 is going to be better. That this has all – as painful as it has been- is a part of God’s plan. These gut wrenching times have been stepping stones. God can use pain that the enemy puts us through for His good. That can be used for growth.

I still know the promises that I have had spoken to me from the Lord. I can look back in my journals and remember the excitement and hope in the future. Even though this year has pretty much sucked, I am choosing to hold on to those promises. Just because I haven’t seen them all come to pass yet, doesn’t mean that they aren’t. Maybe I just had some growing to do!! I have to cling to the hope that the best is yet to come. That tomorrow morning I will wake up and be able to take a deep breath, knowing that there is so much to look forward to. Even though the pain is still real and there is still healing to do, God has me. He sees right where I am on this journey and He will sustain me.

I am praying over myself this year- praying over my husband, children, church, family, dreams, finances, ministry…EVERYTHING!

I believe that 2018 is going to be the best ever. I am trusting for blessings, fulfilled promises, restoration, and peace.

I’m thankful that through Christ I have that hope!

Praying blessings over you in this New Year!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving is behind us and all things are full speed ahead toward Christmas now….

It’s definitely my favorite time of the year. Before things get too hectic, I wanted to be sure and post a recap of our thanksgiving this year!

Our celebration always starts the night before. Our church never has service that night to allow the congregation time with -their family. The past I -don’t -even -know -how -many- years, we have opened our home to the youth group to just come relax and hang out. If you ask my family, apparently I turn into a bucket full of crazy before we host any event. It makes no difference if it is a Youth event, birthday party, or even just a simple dinner…. I always try to make our home look it’s best, meaning I always have a to do list. Our home is pretty small, but I love having people over. The ministry of hospitality was one of the things that the Lord really spoke to my heart when I left my full time job. I feel like I do have a knack for planning/preparing/hosting. Sometimes I let the size of the house stop me from opening it up to friends. God is reminding me that people are so often hurting- what really matters is the fact that you invite them and pour into their lives, no matter the menu or house size. It doesn’t all have to be pinterest perfect… just be authentic.

Anyways… not sure where all that came from…. back to our thanksgiving…

We loved having everyone over. We ended up with about 23 and enjoyed having a fire and oysters in the backyard. We had frogmore stew and chili ready in the house. Everyone just laughed and watched Christmas movies and had a great time. We spend so much time with these students every week, they are our family and we love them!

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that we stay home and don’t go anywhere. I involve my family in planning the menu and instead of choosing sides, they always choose the ‘all of the above’ option. We end up with a giant spread for only four people….but I always warn them that I am not cooking again until at least Monday!! 😂😂

This year we ended up with Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, potato salad, deviled eggs, and rolls. Wowzers! We also had a pecan silk pie, a caramel pie, and a pumpkin roll for dessert! Our fridge is so full of Tupperware containers that I was struggling for a place to put bottled water this morning! We had a fabulous day together! It always starts with lounging on the couch and watching the parade while going through the Black Friday ads in the paper! Since it is just the four of us, I don’t have any pressure as far as an eating time. We just eat whenever I get it all ready! My daughter came and helped in the kitchen some this year and also helped me set the table. We try and make it a special occasion- which means a nice table scape and I get out the gold silverware!

We have so much to be thankful for! Even when times are hard or we might find ourselves waiting on promises from God to be fulfilled, we can still rest in His faithfulness.

After we rested for a few hours, I got to take this beautiful girl out for a little Black Friday shopping!

We hit a few stores Thursday night and we’re back home before midnight. We crashed and slept in the next morning. We took our time getting ready and went back out to go to two more stores Friday! (Ya know I had to take a trip to Hobby Lobby)

The one thing that has been different this year is our Christmas decor. We usually buy our tree the day before Thanksgiving, so that it is ready to move in the house and decorate on Friday. The grocery store down the street from our house where we have bought our tree from for years did not have them this year. So, we ended up finally getting our tree from Lowes TODAY. That’s crazy to me! Usually our home is completely decorated and the tree is finished. Not true for this year! But, I do have the fall decor put away. Sticking to his Black Friday routine, my husband did get all of the outside lights put up! #waytogobabe

Although it might be weird for me to not have everything all set up, I am glad that we were able to find a tree today and am looking forward to decorating it (fingers crossed) tomorrow!

I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving and took a moment to recognize all the things in your life that you have to be thankful for! ❤️

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Weak Spots

What does that title mean to you? How would you define a weak spot?

I remember one day, we had a leak in our attic. The water was leaking and caused there to be a weak spot in our ceiling. When you looked at it, it looked almost the same as the rest of the ceiling. You couldn’t necessarily tell that it was a weak spot. You might have that suspicion, but nothing was absolute. Then my husband reached up and touched the weak spot…. his fingers went right through!! The area in our ceiling was so weak that the slightest bit of touch – not even necessarily pressure, but just the slightest touch- caused breakage.

I can relate to that hope in my ceiling quite a bit lately.

The enemy knows all about us. He is, after all a master deceiver. He knows what buttons to push to hurt us. He knows our fears.

If you have known me long or ever heard my testimony, then you know that I had quite an unhealthy relationship with my mother. One thing that I have always believed is that if you aren’t being a role model for someone to look up to, then you are probably giving them an example of what not to do. That is how I always felt- that I would never be like her. Having said that, motherhood has always been a dream of mine. I never had a vision of a certain career when I was in high school. All I knew was that I wanted a family. I wanted to be that mom that was driving the kids around and had snacks packed and great birthday parties.

I am so grateful for my two amazing children. I love them with my whole heart. I pray over them and can literally start crying by just thinking about how fabulous they are. When the Lord told me to leave my full time job, I was stepping into a realm that I had never known… being a stay at home mom. I am so thankful for this time in my life. Having the opportunity to spend every day with them and teach them, will always be the greatest honor of my life.

These times haven’t exactly been easy though.

We have faced death and drama in our extended family. We have faced the financial stresses of being a one income family. We have faced the challenges of having a teenager. We have faced the challenges of homeschooling.

We have faced them and by God’s grace we have made it through so far, but not perfectly. Some days are just plain hard. I’m not super proud to say that there has been moments of lost tempers and arguing.

Every time I lose my temper, do you know what I hear? I hear the enemy whispering in my ear “you’re just like her” or “what if your kids aren’t speaking to you in twenty years either?”

The devil knows my weak spot. It’s this family of mine. The people that you love the most are the ones that can drive you the craziest! Fussing at my kids for not doing their chores is not me being a bad mom! I have to remind myself that. Believe me, no family is perfect…. but I know that we love each other and are there for each other no matter what. I know that my family is nothing like the situation that I grew up in. I know that, but lies whispered can cause moments of high emotion.

This might all sound crazy to you. It makes perfect sense to me. You might think I’m a great mom or a awful mom or a mediocre mom…. either way, I have to rely on God’s Grace daily. EVERY. SINGLE.DAY.

My weak spot might not be the same as your weak spot. We all have to be aware of our weaknesses so that we can be ready for the attack.

Recognize lies for what they are- LIES. Don’t let them in. Be ready. And by all means, allow yourself some grace. There is plenty to go around!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fall Youth Conference 2017

Every year, we take our youth group to an annual youth conference with all of the other Assembly of God youth groups in the state of South Carolina. It is an event that we always look forward to. The past several years the conference has been held in Myrtle Beach, SC. The event is kicked off on a Friday night with service. After that, there is usually some sort of late night activity and then it is wrapped up with another session on Saturday. Dismissal is around noon- we would ordinarily grab lunch and then head home. That’s right, less than 24 hours.

We decided this year that we would change up our usual routine for this trip. First of all, we decided to stay an extra night and make it a weekend long trip…. fantastic choice! Secondly, we opted to rent a house so that we could all stay together versus dealing with a bunch of hotel rooms! Both of these choices made the weekend even more fun! Otis and I have said that we don’t think that we will ever go back to the way it was before!!

This was our amazing view-

We had a wonderful time at the actual event! Great worship… great speakers….. fun at the late night activity…. it was all phenomenal! It is always so good to see other friends who serve across the state that we may not get to see very often!

The late night activity was three hours at the Fun Warehouse! A group of us who spent many of our teenage years skating were looking forward to that option at the fun warehouse! This place had laser tag, go karts, skating, and an arcade!

Since we had an extra night, we took the group to the pirates voyage dinner show. I had never been. It was the first weekend of the “Christmas show”. It was so much fun!! I couldn’t recommend it more!! It worked out great for a group our size— offering dinner and entertainment in one place!

Sunday morning, the leaders got up and made a big breakfast for all of the students. After everyone ate, we came together and had our own little worship and prayer service. It is always so sweet to me to feel the Holy Spirit in such an intimate setting like that. To hear the voices singing over the music is refreshing to my soul. It always makes my heart happy. We had some meaningful worship and some powerful prayer time. In fact, we almost went past the time that we were supposed to be out of the house because we were in the moment and lost track of time!

I love these teenagers dearly. Sometimes they might drive me crazy, but I couldn’t love them more. I’m so thankful and honored that this is the calling that the Lord placed on our lives! Any weekend that we can love on these guys and impacts are made in their lives is a weekend well worth it!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Catch up on life 

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve wanted to and thought about several different topics. The bottom line is that we have been SO BUSY!!  It’s a crazy time of year for us!!  I do have some posts coming soon in a few different subjects, but I thought that First I should do a general post catching everyone up on life lately for our family.

Football season is always busy! Otis serves as the team chaplain at West Ashely High School. This has opened amazing doors for him to build relationships with these boys and pour into their lives. He is able to go to their Thursday practice and have a devotion with them. He is also on the sidelines for the JV games on Thursday nights and the Varsity games on Friday nights. He leads the team in a prayer after the game.

We have also fed the team a few pregames meals. Preparing chicken, green beans, and pasta for that many hungry boys takes some prep work!! We are so thankful for those that come around us and help us to bless our schools!!

Otis loves these boys and so enjoys the time that he gets to spend with them!!

He is also a part of FCA at the school every other week. If you add all of this to our kids sports, church events, youth group, fall festivities, other family and youth group members athletics…. wowzers it has been a busy time!!

So while we hate to see football season end, we are welcoming a little more free time in our schedule!! 

But back to the catch up–

We have had senior nights for the family members that our unbelievably graduating this year!! Time passes so quickly!! I hate to think that our Allie will be in high school next year!!! We are so proud of these amazing people! 

Fall is my favorite season by far!! I love all things Christmas, so to me the cooler  weather ushers in the holiday season. My heart skips a beat when I hear the first Christmas song of the year or see decorations being out out in the stores!! It is the most wonderful time of the year!! Fall also means Halloween, fall festivals, and the fair! We have taken advantage of so much being offered in our community recently and logged in some much needed family time! 

Our kids have also been playing tennis every Saturday morning with the City of Charleston. This was Gary’s first year and Allie’s second. They both enjoyed it! 

A busy schedule often leads to feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. That can be hard when we are also balancing day to day school work. We had been getting through everything just fine, but I felt like some of the joy/wonder of learning was missing. Plus, the beach always makes things better! We took off one morning this past week and headed to Sullivan’s Island. We visited Fort Moultrie and recited a little Poe on the beach. It was a good day with lots of laughing! 

It was a much needed day to catch our breath!

We had our first family chat yesterday about the menu for Thanksgiving. We do our best to cherish each season of life and take full advantage of all it has to offer!

Hoping you all have a great first week of November!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy September! 

We are now officially past Labor Day. Although, my husband has reminded me that Fall has not technically started yet…. we are ready for the change of seasons (in more ways than one) at my house! 

We didn’t have big plans yesterday, so Otis ventured into the attic to get down my bin of fall decorations. Adding a few touches has been nice. The kids notice it and it’s a breath of fresh air. 

It may still be hot outside, but we are looking forward to cooler temps!! 

This year, I even added a few things to our porch area…

Happy Fall, y’all! 🍁🍂🌻🎃

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How fifteen minutes during the weekend saves me time, headaches and money all week long….

Meal Planning, y’all!!

It’s a life saver!! I hear so many of my friends talk about how they don’t have time to meal plan or that they are not organized enough. How can you not!! Seriously, my life is crazy busy all the time… as is everyone’s it seems. Our schedules are constantly pulling us in different directions weekly and sometimes even daily. Dinner time together is a big deal to us. We always do our best to sit down together. There are plenty of times when Otis is not home and his plate is going to have to wait for him in the microwave, but such is life!

I really got serious about this when I quit my job. Our income was cut in half, and so our budget had to also see some major cuts. I have always considered myself to be a pretty organized person, but I struggled with this. I was working full-time, home schooling our kids, helping with ministry and squeezing naps in anytime I had an open spot longer than 10 minutes. I would be too ashamed to admit how many times I was in Wal-Mart at 4 AM because we needed fill in the blank. Meal planning helps me look at the week(s) as a whole unit. It helps me to have more control over my time and budget.

The whole point of this post is to encourage you to give this a try. I literally sit down at some point during the weekend with a notebook and make my plan. I personally  plan two weeks at a time, but that is just our preference since our paydays are biweekly. I then look at our calendar and see any days that we might be away from home or have a function to attend. I plan the easy dinners for those busy nights and mark any days that we have planned to eat out.

I shop my own pantry and freezer first.

This week I happened to have a family size package of chicken breast tenders in the freezer. So, right now as I type this post…. that entire pack of chicken is in the crock pot with just basic salt, pepper, and a bouillon cube. I have found that shredded chicken goes a lot farther in our house than just grilling it. That pot of chicken will provide two different dinners for our family. Tonight it will be Chicken Tiki Masala and then another night it will be chicken tacos. Once the chicken is cooked, I can personalize the seasonings depending on the dish. Another plus to this is that I have most of the work done for my taco night in a  couple of days.

I always ask my family if they have any requests.

My son is eight and kinda picky. He has the eating habits of a two-year old. He likes corn dogs, chicken nuggets, peanut butter sandwiches, and ramen noodles. He barely eats any veggies and very little fruit. He loves spaghetti though!! So I can pack the veggies into that dish that he requests almost weekly and feel a little better about his eating. If he makes the request, then it gives him something to look forward to and gives him a sense of ownership. He gets excited when it is the night of the dinner that he chose. Of course, anyone can have a request and I do my best to work it in. I try to test out a new recipe once every couple of weeks. You guys know it’s true- we see all those cooking videos all over social media. We like them or pin them, but never actually try them!!! haha!

Make a shopping list.

On the bottom half of my sheet of paper that I write my menu down on, I go day by day and write down what I need for each dish. I always  go over this list twice so that I am not forgetting something. I add any additional staple pantry items and go shopping. Also make sure that you are using all of the items on your list. For example, if I am going to buy a package of mushrooms for a recipe that only needs half of them. I am going to make sure that I have something else that week that uses mushrooms so that nothing is wasted. Also, sometimes it is cheaper to buy in bulk and that can help your budget out as well. Plan Accordingly!!

There ya go….it’s as easy as that and anyone can do it. Once you do it a couple of weeks, you realize just how easy it is and what a game changer it is!! There have been times that I have not made a menu and I end up making a trip to the closet grocery store to find something for dinner. I usually spend way more money just picking up a few items for one meal then I would have if I had planned out my list/meals.

I also find that if I have it all planned out, then I might find time to do some of the prep word ahead of time. Instead of chopping one onion, I might just go ahead and chop two so that there is no chopping tomorrow. I feel so much together if I have my menu done. My family can check the board and they know exactly what is for dinner. The kids don’t ask to go out to eat, because they know that dinner is already planned. (although sometimes the board actually says “eat out” because I look at our calendar and know that is a busy day/night or that we will already be out at dinner time, etc…)

The last big thing that made this more fun for me was a trip to Hobby Lobby! 🙂  I mean, if I am going to get organized with our menu, then I need a cute place to write and display it!!!  I bought a chalkboard menu from them and it sits right on out counter top– we love it!

I hope this might help some of you. I cannot say enough how much of a difference this made in my day-to-day routine. Good luck and happy planning!!



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our 16th Anniversary 

Today is the day. Sixteen years ago, we were married. This time all those years ago, I was in our church nursery with my girls finishing up. At only an hour before the service, I was probably putting jewelry on and making sure my toiletry items were packed back up to put in the limo. I remember my dad coming to get me and I remember walking across the breezeway to enter the church. It’s all very clear in my mind. I remember standing on the stage facing you while a song played during the ceremenony. We were surrounded by 350 or so of our closest friends and family 😁….. yet in that moment is was only you and I. 

I had come from a broken home. We took our vows so seriously. We knew getting married young…. that people claimed statistically we wouldn’t make it. We knew that we would. We had talked about it so many times before while we were dating. The D word would not be in our vocabulary. We set rules then… if we have a big fight…. sure it’ll happen…. we can get mad…. we can go into separate rooms….but we never leave. No one ever leaves. That was something that we decided on long before I changed my name. 

We have faced so many struggles with jobs and finances and hard times and family drama. 

We have walked through so many blessings with two children and a home and ministry and love. 

I just wrote in a blog post last night saying that these last few months have been some of the hardest that I have ever faced. The stress and pressure has been unreal. The worry takes my thoughts hostage and steals my peace. 

However, you are my safe place.

I cannot imagine my life without you in it. You drive me absolutely crazy sometimes, but you can speak a peace into my very being that no other human can. 

You know my strengths, weaknesses, faults, and struggles. You love me through them all. 

I’m thankful for this life we share. I’m forever grateful for the memories and experiences that we have been through. I’ve never had to face anything alone. You are with me to celebrate every small, insignificant victory and tackle every problem. TOGETHER. 

Happy 16th Anniversary ❤️

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment