There is Love

“Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one

As it was in the beginning is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again
And there is Love
There is Love”

{Via Peter, Paul & Mary}

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Our girl is now a wife.  I blinked and MacKenzie grew up.

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Just like that.

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We experienced a lot of her nerves in the days ahead, but she was surprisingly calm the day of.

It was a lovely day filled with beautiful moments, joyous celebrations with those we hold dear to our hearts, sentimental memories, and happy tears.

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Something old; a hat pin tucked into the brides bouquet that belonged to MacKenzie’s great-great-great Grandmother!

 We truly love Michael, cherish his adoration for MacKenzie, and look forward to including him in our crazy little family.

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While we do not have the formal pictures of the big day, I do have these wonderful candid shots taken by my sister, brother-in-law, 10 year old niece, and myself!

{I’m sparing you the ones that reveal just how nutty we are!}

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Simple alter decor

Enjoy these little glimpses of our celebration.

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I had to sneak a few pictures during the formal shots, especially when my children were involved.

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I Love this big sister/little sister moment

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Sweet corsages for our young greeters

 I can’t wait to share more with you, including how we pulled it together out-of-state and without a coordinator!

Reception | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Our reception table was a Southern version of an Antipasto Platter…

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MacKenzie asked me to make the cake… So I did.

Totally-Candid | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Cinderella having her slippers removed

I also have a little list of resources just in case you are planning your own DIY wedding on a budget.

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A fun bubble send-off for the new bride & groom!

Honeymoon-Bound | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Off to the mountains before returning to Greenville to make their home.

 Until I pull it altogether and as life returns to normal from the exhorbant amount of celebrating we have enjoyed the last several weeks, I hope that you enjoy the little teaser!

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It’s been a true Season of Change for our little family this year.  People often don’t welcome and celebrate change, but I have found a peace in it all that almost scares me!

{I totally used to stress over EVERYTHING.}

This week we marked a huge milestone in the life of our Madeline as she graduated high school.

Madeline is such an amazing child young woman and to tell you the truth I am looking forward to watching her soar off into the world.

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Yes, my child wanted her senior pictures made at Starbucks…

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Madeline is my baby girl; entering the world completely on her own terms which led to her daddy delivering her while her doctor sat in the lounge drinking her coffee!

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She has continued to live her life on her own terms as Madeline is full of faith, passion, determination, wonder, compassion, hope, charity, love and fun.

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Sometimes these characteristics have gotten her in trouble, but I sincerely hope she carries them throughout her entire life!

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What is next for this youngest daughter of mine?

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She is headed off to a Christian college in the fall on academic and Lacrosse scholarships where she will major in Biblical Studies and English; planning to go into ministry.  She has a desire to save the world and feels that this path is best for her.

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Signing Day at Point University

Proverbs 3:6 says

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

Madeline has taken this to heart, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes!

Peace-Out | Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Peace Out High School!

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Learning to Let Go

Happy New Year!

OK, yes, I know it is February.

Yes, I also know that I’ve posted very little the last two months.

And yes, I missed writing.

My focus was just elsewhere.

Life has a way of throwing chaos into our perfectly arranged schedules; car accidents, changes in college plans, early graduation, holiday travel, and this momma beginning a new full-time job….  If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen a glimpse of what’s happening in our life including many of the above mentioned things. While these little changes weren’t drastic, there is one more.

After five years here in South Carolina, we are moving.

While I have known this was a possibility for months (my Audley has been very unhappy with his job for about 8 months now), reality hit in December when after countless leads, interviews, glimmers of hope, disappointments and a flat-out “no”, what we were praying for  and least expected was offered to us.

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Honestly, it is not the ideal time with graduation, a wedding, and other big events in the near future, but apparently God felt it was the right time and it is actually a really good thing for us.  It’s also been good for my own spiritual life, something I really needed.

My prayer life has always been weak.  Growing up in a Christian home, I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve been told to “just give it all to God”.  It sounds so simple, but my version of giving it to God has always been “here you go” and then proceed to tell Him how to do His job.  It’s so difficult to relinquish control.

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I guess we are all like that from time to time.  As a mother I think it’s only natural to fix things, but I couldn’t fix my husbands disappointments with work.  The one thing I could do is continue to support, encourage, and build him up as I have done for nearly twenty-two years now.  As Audley’s frustrations began to grow, our prayer life actually grew stronger with them, which is the opposite of how we normally deal with stresses in our lives.  We found ourselves praying together more, and for the first time in my life I found myself giving my stresses, anguish and questions to God and not telling Him what to do!  I didn’t want the mess anymore!

Let me tell you, it’s a liberating feeling to finally completely surrender control!

It’s funny when I look back on my youth and think of the things I prayed for: to make Georgia state honor band, an “A” on a test I didn’t study for, make the softball team, a later curfew, or to wear makeup like my girlfriends… These things were trivial, but I wasn’t afraid to pray for them.  As adults it’s easy to forget the trivial and think only the big things matter like sickness, protection, forgiveness.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve rehearsed a standard prayer and can’t deviate from it because that is what an adult would do!

Oh to have that childlike faith of saying whatever is on my mind again!

The crazy thing is, we can have it, we just have to humble ourselves like we did years ago!

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So those precious moments when my son prayed for a dog or to get a hit in a baseball game as a little boy and the time his 16-year-old self recently thanked God for “letting his dad live to be so old” (Audley is 45…) and to let his sister not kill him with her driving on the way to school are the same way we should be willing to open up and pray as adults!

After experiencing the results of letting God take control, it’s something I plan to continue pursuing.

So, where will move number 14 take us?

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We will be in the suburbs of Atlanta.  Two hours from MacKenzie when she marries in June, just under two hours from Madeline when she heads to Point University to play lacrosse in the fall and Just over two hours from our oldest, Samantha and her hubby, as well as my parents in Tennessee.  Perfectly centered to be more available for all of our family!

Bradley has asked that we make the move as soon as possible so that he can jump in and get involved to finish his junior year, making his senior year much easier to begin.  He’s even been researching school districts on his on.

I’d say that boy of mine has been doing his own praying and has complete faith God will guide him through this as well.

Have a fabulous weekend my friends!

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A Traditional French Gumbo

What a fabulous whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend was!

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Between Wednesday and Saturday we made time to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family (especially enjoying the time we had with all four of our kiddos & the son-in-love) and the in-laws  in Tennessee, then finally attending my mother’s family 40th annual family reunion just south of Birmingham.  It was so much fun, but I have to be honest with you I am totally over rich, heavy foods, casseroles and desserts, and I am most definitely over turkey!

Looking for something different yet tasty, I looked back over my notes from a cooking class I took part in at the New Orleans School of Cooking a couple of weeks ago and decided a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo was just what we needed to break the monotony of the holiday.

This version of gumbo I learned to make in class is the traditional French, before the Italians and Haitians added their touches to southern Louisiana cuisine, so it does not have tomatoes or okra.  I won’t give you the full cooking lesson, but you use an old-fashioned dark roux for the base which is the traditional French way!

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INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup lard or 1/2 cup bacon grease (strained)

1/2 cup flour

1 pound chicken, cut up and deboned

1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced

2 cups onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 TBSP Garlic, minced

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup green onion, slivered

Tony Chachere’s to taste (I prefer the unsalted version)

ASSEMBLING THE GUMBO:

Season (salt & pepper) and brown the chicken in 1/4 cup of the lard or bacon grease over medium high heat in a large pot.  Add sausage to pot and sauté with the chicken.

In a skillet make a roux using equal parts of lard or bacon grease (must be strained &  without particles) and flour to desired color. Heat the grease to medium-high prior to adding the flour to aid in an easier breakdown.  Whisk continually and strive for a dark roux.

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You want your roux to look like dark chocolate … this was buttery color still

You must pay attention to this step because a scorched roux smells horrendous and you’ll have to begin again.  Reduce heat and add your onions, celery, and bell pepper (also known as the Trinity of French cooking) to the roux.  Add the garlic to the mixture and stir continuously.  After vegetables reach desired tenderness, add to pot with the chicken and sausage, continuing to stir frequently with a strong wooden spoon.  Gradually stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer to cook for an hour or more.  Season the gumbo with the Tony Chachere’s to your taste.

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About 10 minutes prior to serving, add green onions.  Serve gumbo over rice or French bread if you choose.

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We LOVED this gumbo and it’s even better heated up a second day after the flavors have had more time to mesh.

What is something you like to serve to break up the rich foods served over the holidays?

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