Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Vacation

Hi, y'all!  Hope you are all having a wonderful summer so far! This time last month, Hubby and I were getting ready to leave for vacation!  I can't believe a month has already passed.  This summer is flying by.

We decided for our vacation this year that we wanted to go back to the Smoky Mountains (of course!), but we also wanted to try to see some new places too.  So, we decided to go a little farther East for a few days and spend some time in North Carolina.  

We spent the first couple of days in Charlotte, visiting the Billy Graham Library and home place.  It was absolutely amazing!  If you ever have the chance to go...GO!  It was by far my favorite stop of the entire week.  Rev. Graham is such an inspiration and a wonderful example of living a life for Christ. Seeing his journey through the years on display at the museum and library was a blessing!

This is the entrance to the library and museum.  I love that the windows are placed in the shape of a cross.

Here is a photo of Billy with President Kennedy, from the museum.

At the end of the museum tour, there was a video presentation by Rev. Graham on how to be saved. When the video was over and the doors opened, this walkway to exit was lit up with crosses.  It was so pretty!

After we finished at the library and museum,  we went for a walk in the memorial garden where Ruth Bell Graham is buried.

The next stop we made was in Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate.  All I can say is WOW!  Of course, the place is HUGE, but the features that they had in the house when it was built were unreal for that time period.  They don't allow photography inside the house, but we took some pictures of the outside and of the gardens.  It was beautiful!

The flowers in the gardens and conservatory were gorgeous. Hubby took tons of pictures, but these are three of my favorites.

We left North Carolina on Thursday and spent the last couple of days in Pigeon Forge.  The Smoky Mountains are one of my most favorite places on earth. No matter how many times we go, it never gets old.  

We went up to Clingman's Dome but it was way too cloudy to see very much.  Still, it was breathtaking.

This is The Island at Pigeon Forge.  When we were there last year, it was still a work in progress.  They have a water show every hour that is choreographed to a fun song.  It was awesome at night.

The night before we left, we saw a dinner show at The Biblical Times Dinner Theater.  It was a production about Moses and you can read about it here.  As always, we were not disappointed with the food or the show.  If you visit Pigeon Forge, make sure to go to Biblical Times.

Now that I have looked at all of the pictures, I am ready to go back!  :-)

Have a blessed week, friends!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Easter Memories

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 
(Matthew 28:6 KJV) 
We had so much fun this Easter:  coloring eggs, hiding and hunting them, eating some amazing food with our family and enjoying the beautiful sunshine.  But the most blessed event of all was remembering and praising God for a RISEN SAVIOR! He is alive, and He lives in me!  We are so undeserving, yet God is always so good and so faithful.

The kiddos definitely had a ball enjoying all of the Easter festivities!  I am so thankful that my sis and I are so close, and that she always makes an effort to include me and Hubby in all of the "everyday things." We sure love spending time with them as often as we can!

And, of course, a silly picture of Aunt Wendy, taken by my sweet 5-year-old nephew.  Y'all ignore the freckles and no makeup, mmm-kay? 

Thanks again to all of you for praying for Z.  His hernia surgery went perfectly! The surgeon was able to repair it and so far, his recovery has been piece of cake!  You wouldn't even know he had been through an operation.  Praising God for praying friends and answered prayers!

Much love to you all,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Little Words, Lots of Pictures

Hi there friends!  It's been a while!  I think I am going to try this blogging thing one more time.  It's going to be a bit different now, though.  I am going to use this space mostly to write about me and Hubby, our family and what's going on in our lives at any given time.  I want a place to post pictures and share memories that I can look back on.

With that being said, if you're interested in seeing lots of pictures and hearing about day-to-day stuff, I'm so glad you're here!  I hope that you are all having a wonderful start to this beautiful spring season.  Hubby and I took our first trip of the year to Mammoth Cave National Park today.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, as you will see in the pictures to follow! :-)

Also, before I go, I want to thank all of my sweet friends for praying for baby Z.  Most of you know already, but for those who don't, he was diagnosed with a hernia and will have surgery to repair it on April 25th.  Keep praying!

Have a blessed week!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Setting Goals for 2014

Source: Pinterest

I am so not a resolution-maker, y'all.  I feel like resolutions set me up for failure because I never keep them.  I do, however, believe in setting realistic goals and having something to aspire to.  A set of specific goals keeps me focused and I have lots of goals in mind for 2014!

This post is more for me, to keep me accountable.  I want something tangible that I can look back at and see how I am doing.

So, here are my 2014 goals, in no specific order...with a few random iPhone Christmas pictures mixed in. Enjoy! 

My 2014 Goals
Read and study the Bible more

Pray more 

Be more intentional about being kind to others

Lose 10 pounds by April 1st 

Walk 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week 

Make healthier food choices 

Make weekly meal plans and cook at home 6 nights per week

Save enough money to pay cash for our vacation and Christmas gifts 

Clip coupons and actually use them 

Get to work on time

Learn more about essential oils 

Start looking into buying our own house

Be more present with my husband and family by spending less time on my phone, on the computer, etc.

Go to a music festival or concert 

Read two books per month 

Try two new recipes per month

How about you?  Do you make resolutions or set goals?  What would you like to accomplish in 2014?

Have a blessed weekend, friends!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear 2013: A Series of Questions

Hi, friends!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to great things in the New Year.

Today, I am linking up with Amanda at The Lady Okie and her friend Beka for a Dear 2013 Linkup post!

I loved Amanda's post, so I am going to use her awesome questions in mine too. So, here they are, with a few random pictures interspersed, because what good is a blog post without pictures?!

I am late with this linkup, as always.  But I hope you still enjoy!

13 Things You Should Ask Yourself 
Before The End of 2013

1.  What am I most proud of this year?
I think the one thing I am most proud of this year is how far we have come with our relationship with my husband's family.  We were able to attend his sister's wedding in September, which is a HUGE milestone considering the history there.  God is so good and so faithful.

2.  How can I become a better ____________?
Wife.  This coming year, I want to be more intentional about treating my husband with kindness, respect, and love.  Of all the women in the world, God chose me as the perfect fit for him.  He deserves my best.

3.  Where do I need to allow myself grace?
Oh, wow.  Everywhere!  I am always hard on myself.  In my opinion, there is a fine line between allowing grace and justifying your bad decisions.  In 2014, I want to give my all and do my best in everything I attempt, but also find that balance where I allow some grace when I fall short.  After all, God extends me grace  I should do the same for myself.

4.  Am I passionate about my career?
Absolutely!  My job drives me bonkers some days, but I love what I do.  I couldn't ask for anything more.  I truly enjoy the career path that God has laid out for me.

5.  What did my finances look like?
Overall, not bad.  We were able to save enough to pay cash for our vacation to the Smoky Mountains and for Christmas.  There were some tight months, but God blessed every time and saw us through.

6.  How did I spend my free time?
On social media.  Ha!  Seriously, though, I spent wayyyy too much time online in 2013. I definitely want to scale back in this upcoming year and be more present with my hubs and family.  I also spent a lot of time reading and trying new recipes.

7.  What projects have I completed?
This is a tough one, because I didn't have any "projects" in the works, per se.  I filled up my china cabinet that Hubby gave me last Christmas with loads of vintage Pyrex dishes.  And I added tremendous amounts of albums to my record collection. Do those count as a projects?  (Just kidding!  Sort of...)

8.  In what ways can I restructure my time?
See #6.  I will have tons more available time if I spend less on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  I also want to spend more time in the Word in the coming year.

9.  When have I felt the most alive?
It is hard for me to pick one particular time on this one.  I would have to say during church, worshiping with fellow believers and letting the Spirit move.  That's when I feel the most alive.

10.  How can I improve my relationships?
The top thing I need to do is pray for those relationships more often.  Anything nurtured with prayer has a much greater success rate.  Aside from that, I would like to call and write to people more often.  I want to focus on improving my attitude, because too often, I fail at extending grace to my friends and family.

11.  What lessons have I learned in 2013?
Things don't always turn out the way I planned, but God has it under control.
Turning over your worries to God is such a relief and comfort, when you actually do it and mean it.

12.  What old habits would I like to release?
Speaking before I think things through.
Being less judgmental and more compassionate.

13. What new habits would I like to cultivate?
See #8.  I want to study and pray more.
Daily exercise and healthier food selection.

Have a blessed New Year's Day celebration!

The Lady Okie Blog
Much love,