Newest Grandchild

I am so proud and happy to introduce my newest grandson.  The photos pretty much speak for how blessed and happy we are to welcome this newest bundle of love to our family.

“You have filled my heart with greater joy” Psalm 4:7 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above” James 1:17

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Savoring Sprinkle

The anticipation of waiting for the birth of a grandchild is a feeling that never gets old.

We are a blended family and we have 15 grandchildren between us so far ~ 14 of which are living here on this Earth and one we will meet in heaven some day.  We have twice as many boys as girls. M. and I have been in each others lives long enough to have welcomed 11 of these precious souls together.  It is still a thrill to welcome a new life.

It is interesting to see the changes in accessories and technology since I had babies.  For one, I never had an actual photo of any of my children while they were growing inside my womb.

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Side note: Ultra Sound was a fairly new option to determine the gender when I started having children. There was no need for me to have one when I was pregnant with my first baby.  I saw my second child, because it was offered, but I was clueless what I was looking at.  The nurse would say, “Here is a hand, here is a foot.”  I would look very hard, but it was nearly impossible for me to see. With my third child I miscarried his twin during my pregnancy.  When they showed me my son’s image on the screen to reassure me everything was okay, I could clearly see him and knew before they confirmed it that he was a boy.

One of my bonus daughters had a “sprinkle” recently.  In case you are new to this term, a sprinkle is just like a shower, but the gifts are not usually too large because you already have most of the big-ticket items from previous children.  In fact, there really isn’t much point unless you have a lot of children and really need new clothes or accessories for the newest member of the family.  Otherwise it is a nice opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate this exciting time of life.

 

Soft onesies, cuddly swaddling blankets, adorable outfits, and a lot of interesting small ticket items like a “Windi the gas passer” (check it out here if you are curious) were given as gifts.  Giggles and “aaah’s” were heard as each gift was opened.

 

The refreshments were light and these cute cookies were as delicious as they are adorable! Yes, she is having a boy in about 6 weeks!

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I am looking forward to meeting you in a few weeks baby Sam!!

This Word – Embrace

Most of us look forward to the new year and see it as an opportunity to make a fresh start.  Resolutions are made and some people are lucky enough to actually reach their goal.  Based on an article I recently read I decided to try something different this year and choose a word.

The concept of choosing one word to focus on each day of the year is appealing to me. Maybe focusing on just one word, and letting that one word guide me each day, might help me in my approach to all aspects of my life during the new year.

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But which word?  Words like trust, simplicity, and discipline came to mind, but none of them fully satisfied or expressed what I wanted for this year.  They are all great words, but my objective is to sincerely BE as well as DO this word in my daily life, and these particular words were not settling just right.  After much thought and prayer, the word I was looking for came to my mind. “Embrace”  Yes, that’s it!

Mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally ~ there are endless possibilities to put the word embrace into action each day. My prayer time, my marriage, my children and grandchildren are at the top of the list. I am hopeful this word embrace will help me to slow down and appreciate the glorious sights and sounds of nature, read more books, and really listen to what others have to say.  I hope this word embrace will open my eyes to new opportunities and fresh starts.

As odd as this may sound, I understand that struggles will also need to be embraced ~ the trials that can sneak up out of nowhere, the heart-breaks as well as disappointments that can occur. Embracing difficult decisions that need to be made or the many temptations that will be placed in my path will be a challenge.  It is my desire to stay faithful to this word embrace.

Taking it one day at a time, I wake up every morning thinking about embrace.  Moments that might have gone unnoticed have gradually started to enrich my life.  The adorable antics of my dog, the clever ways my students challenge me daily, and the empty, hollow feeling I felt inside after attending a recent gathering are all current moments I have embraced.  It was hard to make myself embrace the empty, hollow feeling and quite honestly I didn’t at first. It was miserable, but it caused me to reflect.  I now embrace those unhappy feelings, because they brought an affirmation in regards to a decision I have been struggling to make for a while.

We usually see what we look for and I am choosing to “embrace.”  What word would you chose?

Savoring the Emerald Coast

M. and I decided to spend Thanksgiving at the beach.  All of our children either had plans to spend the holiday with in-laws or were unable to travel home, so we decided to spend it with my siblings and their spouses along the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida.

We were lucky enough to snag a deal in our favorite condo complex right on the beach for less than $100 a night so any apprehension we were feeling quickly became a no-brainer.

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We enjoyed beautiful sunsets from our balcony, fresh seafood in local restaurants and some lively card games with my siblings.

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We explored nearby areas such as Grayton Beach, Seaside, and Rosemary Beach all located within a few miles of each other.

Grayton Beach seemed to be laid back and had an eclectic kind of hippie feel.  We weren’t sure where to go, but stumbled across this cute little village (Shops of Grayton) and took a quick walk around.  We stopped in Twin Oaks Farm Stand (the blue building below) and would definitely revisit.  It was a very small restaurant and store with an assortment of jams, jellies, brines, beef and chicken stock, eggs, and an array of healthy food choices to enjoy a quick breakfast or lunch.
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We drove along scenic highway 30A and stopped at the bustling, although charming, upscale town of Seaside. This area was VERY crowded.  People were everywhere in spite of what it looks like in the photos I took!  They had a few gourmet food trucks (actually vintage Airstream trailers) from which mouth-watering aromas ascended in the air, unique $hops, and cute little water stations for your canine companions.

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After a leisurely stroll around, it was back in the car and we drove toward Rosemary Beach.  Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of this lovely town since we decided not stop.  There had been a Thanksgiving 10K run that morning and parking was not to be found.  I managed to locate some photos on Google that reflect what we were able to see.

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Rosemary Beach presented a similar upscale resort atmosphere as Seaside.  There are shops and restaurants in an area of old world charm which included cobblestone streets and gas lamps.  Many of the homes, either directly on the beach or within walking access, ranged in size from cute and cozy to quite large and gorgeou$.

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I have visited the panhandle of Florida almost all of my life, but had never ventured into any of these towns.  Exploring these areas was a nice surprise, a pleasant way to spend some time, and a possible destination idea for a future visit.

Kindness Rocks

Rocks have always had a special place in my heart and I have always been fascinated by the various textures and shapes.  Granted (no pun intended – granite – granted get it?) anyway…the ones I am mostly referring to are the ones painted by nature. Sometimes the beautiful color or the luster of the minerals made me happy so I kept it. I would often pick up a rock as a token or souvenir to remember a special location or vacation. Kind of like finding a shell on the beach and taking it home.  One very special rock is the one I found on a day I was terribly missing my mom not long after she passed away.  My heart was heavy and I really wanted to talk to her, to touch her and to be in her presence.  As I walked along in my grief, I noticed a heart-shaped rock lying on the ground beneath my feet.  Picking it up and gazing at the heart shape I noticed tiny sparkles of mica that caught the sunlight.  This simple rock gave me comfort, joy, and a connection to who I was missing at that moment.  I still have that rock.

Have you heard of the Kindness Rocks Project? I had not heard of this until I found two rocks in a period of two weeks in two different states!

 

On the back of each rock is a hashtag sign and the name of a city with the word “rocks” printed. For example, printed on back of one of these rocks was #WNC rocks.  After finding the second rock, I decided to look on the internet for anything that could explain what this meant.  I was surprised to learn this fad (for lack of a better way to say it) can be found all over the United States. It is called the Kindness Rocks Project.

The Kindness Rock Project was created to spread inspiration and a moment of kindness for unsuspecting recipients through random inspirational rocks dropped along the way.  Created by life coach Megan Murphy in hopes of sparking joy in people’s everyday lives.”

I found the Cat in the Hat rock on a bench outside a grocery store when we were at the beach in Florida during Thanksgiving.  After my internet research I learned you are supposed to take a photo and post it on Facebook.  So I did! The painter of the rock and I exchanged pleasantries and she was so pleased I had found it.  I have since hidden it here in my hometown.  The pretty snowflake rock was found by M. in Sylva, North Carolina when we stopped there for lunch on our way to Asheville one weekend before Christmas. Not only did the rock come with a cute penguin, but an additional surprise was taped behind the rock ~ a tiny pair of gold hooped earrings!  We decided to leave it hidden where we found it for some other lucky finder.

If you find a special rock painted by nature or painted by humans, I hope it brings you a feeling of joy, surprise, or a connection….even if that connection is to an unknown stranger who is trying to bring a smile and brighten someone else’s day.