September 11: 20 Years Later

It’s been 20 years.

Twenty years since I dropped my oldest daughter off for school and drove home with our other three little ones.

Kennesaw Mountain Field of Flags: one for each person killed on 9/11/2001 plus 13 extra at half mast for the Marines, Sailor & Soldier killed in Kabul two weeks ago.

Twenty years since I heard the breaking news of a plane flying into Tower one of the World Trade Center as we were just minutes from our house.

Twenty years since I rushed into the house and turned on the news only to watch in horror as a plane flew into Tower Two on live TV.

Twenty years since the stories of hijacked planes rang in my ears as I hugged my three little ones.

Twenty years since a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Twenty years since brave men and women stopped a plane from crashing into another target, but lost their lives in a field in Pennsylvania.

Twenty years since I checked my oldest out of school.

Twenty years since I called my husband nonstop while he was working out of town on a construction project. He didn’t know and I begged him to come home.

Twenty years since my daddy opened the doors of the church building and brought the community together for hours of prayer for lives lost, our nation, our government.

Twenty years since we held hands and hugged necks of strangers in our community because we were all shocked, saddened and confused.

Twenty years and my heart breaks for these families and our nation now as much as it did then. It doesn’t seem that long, yet here we are.

A lot has happened in twenty years. My babies are grown. They remember. They’ll always remember, just as I do. That day impacted their lives forever and helped mold them into the young adults they are today. They grew up in a different world than I did. We talked a lot about how the world changed after 9/11. As I said, we have not forgotten.

Unfortunately many of our nation have forgotten and we are not very United. I do not feel very secure and do not trust our government. 9/11 was tragic, but I miss 9/12.

Do you remember?

10 Things August

Would someone please explain to me how it is August already?  I know I’ve been absent on the blog (I stay much more active on my social media), but where has this year gone?

In an effort to share a few going-ons in our life, I thought I would share ten things that I’m loving right now as well as give you an idea into our year!  Who knows, maybe this will become a permanent addition to the blog.

 1. It’s farmer’s market season and I love visiting our little local, Saturday market here in Cartersville.  Audley & I do very little grocery shopping during the summer, choosing to focus on supporting local farmers and small businesses.  If you have a chance, check out your own local markets.  Eliminate the middle man and find much better quality food to enjoy!

2. Hit the outdoors and enjoy a waterfall hike.  Our health is one of the most precious things we have, and it’s up to us to protect and nourish our health.  One way to do this is get outside more, taking in natural Vitamin D, breathing in fresh air, and exercising our body, both internal and external.  The North Georgia Mountains are abundant with waterfalls to choose from, but I’m sure there is one near you as well.

Helen, Georgia

3. One of my resolutions this year was to dig a little deeper into Bible Study.  I am loving Candace Cameron Bure’s devotional books geared towards women.  From dealing with our own brokenness that we often don’t want to face, to discovering power in kindness, these little studies are simple yet impactful.  I found my copies on Amazon and  Dayspring and they are definitely worth investing in.

4. Another resolution I had for this year was to write more personal notes and remembering to send cards.  This beautiful stationary from American Stationary really makes that goal easy, as I love the beautiful colors and textures of the paper.  

5. Graphic tee-shirts for all occasions are all the rage right now, no matter your age.  I love these cute shirts from Kelley & Co.  Of course when your daughter is Kelley & Co you can’t help but love her work as well!  Check her out on Facebook or Instagram

Less News, More Nature
Girls trip anyone?

6. I have 6 pounds of fresh huckleberries arriving  tomorrow, so its time for a little jam session.  Huckleberries aren’t native for us here in Georgia, but hopefully the ones arriving from Idaho will satisfy my craving for this sweet berry!

7. Head out one Saturday morning to catch sunrise on the lake/river/creek/secluded field with someone special.  A thermos of coffee, fresh donuts, and a blanket are all you need for this inexpensive but romantic date.  Audley and I love taking our canoe out for sunrise, but believe me, a blanket and viewing point are all your need!

8. From Kindergarten on I’ve maintained a summer reading list every year.  I may not earn a free personal pan pizza or tickets to an Atlanta Braves baseball game any longer, but the satisfaction of finishing another great read is great in itself!  This summer I’ve finished Mary Kay Andrews The Newcomer, The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House by Adrian Tinniswood, When the Astors Owned New York by Justin Kaplin, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Nancy Schoenberger and Sam Kashner, Below Stairs by Margaret Powell, and The Glitter & The Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt.  I also purchased several books about Laura Ingalls Wilder while on our road trip (see my social media) last month that I can’t wait to dive into.

9. Summer gardens are at their peak and even beginning to fade away, so now is the time to plan and organize your fall garden/container gardens with cooler weather vegetables.  Start your seeds for sugar peas, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, parsley and the like for fresh veggies through the next season.  Hopefully some of the summer heat will begin to loosen its grip soon and help make for a productive winter. 

10. Finally, if you don’t know already, I’m going to be a grandmother in just two months!  It’s a girl!  I’ve spent several weekends up in South Carolina helping Gracie and Michael pull together the nursery this summer using paint and *gasp* wallpaper.  The color scheme is just beautiful and I’m loving this gorgeous mural from Photowall that pulls everything together.  It adds so much color and personality to this sweet room.  I can’t wait to see everything completely arranged after her showers.

I hope August is full of simple pleasures and you find joy in the small things as we roll through the last days of summer!

The 25th Year

Last week we officially closed the door on the last 3 years of our life in Loganville as we dug up the hydrangea & locked the door.

Now as full empty-nesters Audley & I are finally under one roof (he’s been living in an apartment for 2 years instead of driving 150 miles round trip everyday for work) living on the west-side of Atlanta. This was the 15th move we’ve made in our 25 years of marriage, which we also celebrated last week.

This move was probably the most difficult and for sure the most stressful in the fact he & I did 90% of it alone between Audley’s work schedule, wedding planning for our youngest daughter, lots of uncertainty and a of course this pandemic.

2020 has been an interesting year to say the least.

While 2020 has been memorable in its own way, the beauty and nuttiness of the last 25 years mixed with the excitement of the next 25, definitely overshadow any craziness that this one year has thrown our way.

Audley and I have four amazing kids, & now three sons-in-law (so much has happened in the last 10 years while writing this blog) who are contributing so many beautiful and positive things to this world of ours. Police officers, medical personnel, minister, exercise specialist, preschool teacher, Marines (we have 2 now!); we have much to be proud of when looking at our kids.

Having an empty nest at the quarter century milestone is a whole new world for Audley and me.

We have never been “just the two of us”. I became a full-time mom the day we said “I do”. Being parents together for the entirety of our marriage has been a large part of our identity.

Now, with Madeline saying her “I do” last month the full-time parenting chapter of our story has closed! Now we get to write the next chapter as we discover new adventures together. I have no clue as to what the next 25+ years will look like for Audley and I, but can guarantee it will be filled with love, growth, discovery, new adventures and as always God-centered.

So cheers to the next 25 years and whatever adventures come our way!

20 Ways to Make “Sheltering In Place” a Little More Sane

Who would’ve ever imagined 2020 would go in this crazy direction when we woke up January 1.  We are 3 1/2 months into the year and I’m ready to return to sender or leap to the future!

Seriously though, we are living in a strange and unprecedented time that honestly I never thought we could or would experience.  There is no doubt that COVID-19 is very dangerous, but everything surrounding it has left so many of us with mixed emotions and a lot of questions.

With schools, business and other things closed and everyone “sheltered in place” life is different for the majority of our nation and other countries around the world.  We’ve seen so many ways people are handling this situation: from freaking out and hoarding, to acting oblivious to everything.  There is nothing wrong with being afraid and worrying, whether it be of the illness itself or the consequences the country is facing because of government orders.  How we express those feelings does make a huge difference though.  At the end of the day, I do know that God is in control and I try to leave my fears and worries to Him.

Trying to keep life as normal as possible is important to me as it offers a sense of security, keeps our home running smoothly, promotes calmness, eases fear, and I want to set an example for my now grown children.

Today I’m sharing 20 ways to “Shelter In Place” that have helped keep me sane and less stressed.

  1.  Open your curtains and blinds each morning to let in the natural light.  I know, we’ve had a lot of rainy days, but even the light on a rainy day is better than living in cave!
  2. Make your bed everyday.  Audley laughs at me on the weekends, because “we’re just going back to bed this evening, why bother?”  But, seriously, walking past my room with a made up bed during the day just makes me feel good and the house feels just a touch more clean, despite the pile of laundry on the chair.img_4633
  3. Change from your nighttime to daytime PJ’s (or hubby’s t-shirts) everyday, and brighten up those jammies by doing your make-up a couple days a week.  You’ll feel so much better!
  4. Catch up on your reading.  Whether you have kids at home, or are an empty nester, use this time to read for pleasure!  Tell the kids you have school work, too.img_3778
  5. Workout.  Yep, all that time you never had for working out, shouldn’t be an issue now.  You may discover after a couple of weeks of walking, jogging, or body weight training that you will want to continue when things return to normal.  Rest assured you will be glad you’ve added exercise to your daily routine! I know different states have different rules right now, but you should be able to stroll around your neighborhood, or hit a trail at a local park.  If you have children, take them with you to let them run.  Just be courteous to those who have the same idea and keep your distance.img_3307
  6. Try a new recipe …. or twelve.  I cook a lot anyway, but good grief since midMarch I have about wore my stove and oven out!  Our grocery bill has increased as well, but I guess that’s off-setting how much we were eating out.7a123289-9022-4a37-9797-5cfffdc28901
  7. Eat cereal for supper.  Just do it.  The kids would love to have Capt’n Crunch while you indulge in some Chocolaty Special K.
  8. Plant flowers. In most states Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware all have curbside pickup. Use it & stop by when you’re getting your groceries.  You can also order things from online from various resources and have them in a few days.  If those options don’t work for you, weed your flower beds, do a little transplanting and trimming.img_3875
  9. Clean out the pantry and spice cabinet.  This pairs well with trying a new recipe as ingredients that are about to expire can be whipped into something unique.  Organize things to that you can easily find items you need: turn labels so they can be read, combine duplicate spice bottles, organize veggies together, etc..
  10. Finish a crafty project you’ve started and put aside. We’ve all got a  cross stitch project only 1/8 of the way completed sitting in a drawer in the living room project sitting around I’m sure.
  11. Refinish a piece of furniture.  That dresser you painted ten years ago and now dislike? Strip it, sand it and stain it! You’ve got a new showpiece and spent little to make it happen.img_3836img_3835
  12. Eat an entire bag of Cadbury Mini eggs in Royal dark edition.  Not that I’ve done that….. Y’all, they are the best!
  13. Set the table.  It doesn’t matter if you use plastic, Tupperware, glass or paper plates; set the table, then enjoy all of your meals together as a family if possible.  This will become a habit you might find you’ve missed.img_4192
  14. Clean out the garage, storage room, or closets.  I know.  A lot of cleaning, but some of us have a wee bit more time on our hands than normal, so use it to your advantage.  This maybe time to plan that yard sale you’ve wanted to have or just haul things off to a donation center.
  15. Picnic in the yard.  I love a good picnic y’all, and with spring arrived here in the south we have had several gorgeous days for dining outdoors!img_4630
  16. Try a family campout in the backyard.  Build a fire, roast hot dogs, make smores, tell silly stories or ask your kids or spouse questions about their dreams and goals.  When the TV is turned off a whole new world opens up!
  17. Organize your photos.  If you’ve got 10 years worth of digital pictures you need to print off, upload them to Shutterfly or some other online service and have them in a matter of days.  You can order albums if you need and never have to leave the house.
  18. Bake.  Yeah, thats a dangerous one for our waistlines, but oh so good!
  19. Build a birdhouse.  Scraps from other projects are perfect for this!  Let your kids paint it and mount on a tree.  See who comes to visit.
  20. Make homemade cards or write notes to friends and family you can’t see write now.  FaceTime is so easy to use, but I an assure you that a piece of old-fashioned mail will truly brighten someone’s day!

 

How are you all handling things right now?  Is it business as usual or has you life completely changed over the last four weeks?  Just know you aren’t a lone and we’re all trying to get through this together!

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