South Carolina Is Our Home

A historic event is taking place right here, right now.  South Carolina is our home, and it is so hard to see the images posted all over the news and Facebook.  There is so much damage and destruction due to widespread flooding in the entire state of South Carolina.

Thursday the entire state was put on notice that bad weather was headed our way.  When once we were worried about the hurricane that was quickly approaching, the reality is that the hurricane did not cause all of the flooding that has taken over our state.

Although we had advance warning, I am sure the majority of the people did not believe the forecast.  When my family and I took the warning seriously and stocked up on things like gas for all of our vehicles, food, and water, others did not heed the warning.

Charleston was completely under water Saturday.  It was hard to watch the news coverage where places we frequented were under water.  We watched as high tide forced waters over the rail at The Battery and flooded Battery Park.  Immediately my thoughts turned to when Hurricane Hugo came through in 1989.  There’s even a picture hanging in my living room entitled “The Storm” of that night.

South Carolina Is Our Home

Columbia, unfortunately, had a turn with all of the flooding Sunday.  Again, we watched in horror as Governor Haley had a news conference practically begging people to stay off of the roads as they were unsafe, and yet there were still people venturing out in those conditions.  I’ll admit that I get a little hot under the collar myself.  One of my Facebook friends posted that they had to get to Florence for work this week.  I immediately shared with her the things coming up in my newsfeed which indicated it was completely unsafe to travel.  Yet, she got in her car a little while later and tried to make her way through.  It took her four hours to get through what normally takes an hour travel time, and she still was not able to make it to her destination.  She was told to pull over and was able to get the very last hotel room so she would be safe for the night.  Later she got on Facebook talking about how she was freaking out when she was trying to drive in those conditions and still upset that she was now stranded in this hotel.  I’m sorry, but she should have heeded the warning and just stayed home!  We have heard of nine fatalities at this time, seven of which could have been prevented if they had just listened and stayed HOME!  This isn’t just me saying this, Governor Haley, as well as newscasters have stated this as well.

Monday, as I sit here writing, the rain is still falling outside my window.  I am one of the lucky ones, though, that has not had any significant damage at my house.  Believe me, I am so thankful to God above to live right where I live out in the country on somewhat of a hill.  The newscaster just said we have had between one to two feet fall from the sky this weekend, and yet, there’s more rain falling.

Our little town has all but shut down as bridges are flooded and major roads are impassible.  Even still, there are “thrill seekers” going out to look, take pictures, and really are putting themselves in harm’s way.   I just want to scream, “STAY HOME!” and yet I know that if they will not listen to Governor Haley and the South Carolina Highway Patrol, they surely will not listen to little ole me.

There’s concern that hospitals may have to be evacuated.  They are without water, but the fire department is pumping thousands of gallons of water into the building.  Our Governor is calling the fire department “Angels.”  They are!  All emergency personnel are angels in my eyes.  They are the ONLY ones that should be out there in all of this.

Please, if you are reading this, pray for the entire State of South Carolina as we try to recover from this historic flooding event.

Videos/Pictures of flooding in South Carolina:



The Sweetest, Warmest Embrace

We drove with great anticipation throughout the day.   We spent four hours on the interstate until we reached our destination with excitement building with every single mile.

As we took the final exit that would take us to our friend’s house, we decided to make a detour for some flowers.  I felt that my beautiful friend needed a bouquet of roses upon our very first live-and-in-person meeting.  Once inside the shop, I picked up the prettiest long stemmed red roses that would soon be in my sweet friend’s arms.

Back in the car we went, and 15 minutes later we pulled into the driveway.  I could contain my excitement no longer, and as soon as the car came to a stop, I opened the door, bailed out grabbing gift bags — forgetting all about those roses for the moment, and ran down the path to her house.

IMG_5772Arms stretched wide, me running with my own arm lugging the gift bags and the other up high in the sky with great anticipation, and finally coming together with our arms wrapped around each other in the sweetest, warmest embrace … EVER!  

This was the day that I met my online friend of 17 years in September 2014.

Debbie was the ring leader of our little group.  Debbie was the mother hen that looked after all of her little chicks.

Shortly after this picture was taken, after our very first visit live-and-in person, Debbie passed away.  I got to see her once more in November 2014 before she slipped from this world and on to Heaven with Jesus.

I am thankful for the weekend I got to see her that November.  She was really bad off, and while I did not wish to intrude, her husband was kind enough to allow us to visit as much as we wanted that weekend.  Debbie insisted!  That sweet lady, who would soon slip from this world, allowed us to spend time with her before she breathed her last breath.  My heart was so completely saddened to see her in the shape she was in, yet I was grateful for the time I had with her to hold her hand and tell her that I love her.

And yes … to give her another sweet, warm embrace even gentler than the one two months prior.


Capture The Moment

My friends affectionately call me “The Picture Queen.”

Capture The Moment

Yes, it is true, I take so many pictures and love to share them with anyone that is willing to take a look.

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Why do I have this obsession with pictures?

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Because, it allows you to capture the moment right when it is happening to savor the memory.

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With a picture, it is as if time stands still.

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That moment, that memory will forever live on now that you have been able to capture it through photography.

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My pictures mean so much to me.  They are gifts that I offer my children.

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While they groan when I ask that they gather together for family portraits, especially around holidays with our other relatives, one day they will appreciate how they managed to struggle through the agonizing picture taking!

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Occasionally, my 18 year old daughter will go through pictures now, and she will remember all of the details surrounding that moment in time that is reflected in the picture.

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That’s what it is all about!

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To me, a picture has more worth than gold!  It allows me to step back in time with my loved ones that have passed on.  The memories rush back in, and for a moment in time, I’m there with them again.  Feeling those feelings, remembering what we were laughing and making those goofy faces about.  They all flood in.  I’ll admit that there are times that although the memory is a happy one, tears will slip out of the corner of my eyes and run down my face.  I realize that moment in time is lost forever, and I’ll never have another moment like this with them again in this lifetime.

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The holiday pictures are so important to me.  Yet it is sad to look through the pictures year after year to see that we’ve lost precious family members.  Even still, I capture as many moments that I possibly can.


These are my memories with my loved ones, and I treasure each and every one.

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I love my family!

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I encourage you to capture the moment with your family as well!

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Memories to treasure for a lifetime!

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Friends Became Family

On a dark, lonely evening as I watched television alone, a commercial came on for a type of online “lounge.”  Intrigued by it, I went to my computer to check it out.  Logging into the site 18 years ago, I had no idea just how the people on this site would impact my life.

The gang

From that night on, I checked in as often as I could to find my new friends waiting for me.  We would laugh, joke, and occasionally talk about serious issues that we were going through.  Since I was at the beginning of a bad divorce, these friends became my lifeline, my escape, and soon, my confidants.  Wishing for more privacy than the public forum allowed, we took our conversations over to email.  We shared so much about our lives that before long, we were all emotionally connected and bonded.

friends became family

I am convinced that God placed these wonderful people in my life for a very special reason. They were there when I needed them the most and struggled through things that threatened to steal every ounce of my sanity.  From the bad divorce and the horrible things my ex husband did to me; my sisters suicide and trying to recover when my heart was shattered after losing her; remarrying my old high school sweetheart that resurfaced after the separation from my husband, to having a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that almost claimed my life and required emergency surgery; finally welcoming a beautiful blonde haired blue eyed angel into this world after painful procedures trying to conceive; both of my parents being diagnosed at separate times with cancer, going through surgery, and finally being told they were cancer-free once again; a horrible work situation where I was bullied almost daily by my boss and co-workers; my daughter’s graduation from high school; my new found love of horses and welcoming our herd of five horses to their new home; and the list goes on and on.

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It hasn’t been one sided either.  I’ve been there for them through their parent’s passing; their medical tests; their own diagnosis and treatment; the passing of one’s sister; family disputes; etc.

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As you can see, when once we were mere strangers, we became friends in the most unusual way back then.  Over the course of 18 years, though, these friends became family!   I thank God for each and every one of them.

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Sadly, we lost one of our very special family members last year.  She struggled with breast cancer and lost her battle in November of 2014.  We miss her so much, but she is always in our thoughts.  We are thankful for the memories we made together and the opportunity to spend time face-to-face as we met for the first time last September.


These precious people are now family, and I thank God for how He put us together in the most unusual but beautiful way all those years ago.



What Is Your Calling?

There was a knock on the door, piercing the silent atmosphere of our office environment.  She rose to open the door as she politely thanked the postman.  Making her way over to my desk, my coworker presented me with a white package, smiled, and said, “Here’s a present for you.”   Little did she know that the contents of this package was a very special present waiting for me to rip into.

This individual has long been known for his surprise gift-giving abilities.  Out of no where, a care package would appear for my daughter and myself.  At a particularly hard time in my life when I had just started going through the divorce proceedings, my friend reached across the miles and offered little gifts to bring a smile and warm my heart.  He never forgot my daughter or left her out.  In all of the packages that would arrive at my place of employment, there was always a little surprise inside for her, too.

Today as I opened the package, I smiled as cards fell out on my desk along with two books.  One in particular said on the front, “This card has no purpose.”   When you opened it, it said, “I sent it anyway.”  Ah, but here’s the thing.  The card may have seemed like it had no purpose whatsoever, but it clearly did as it brought a smile to my face as soon as I read it.

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Another card had an actual hug inside complete with instructions that made me giggle.

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And the last card said that it just wanted to brighten my day as I’ve brightened so many of theirs.  Awe!  What I especially loved about this heartwarming card was the bible verse on the left side.

Every time I think of you —

and I think of you often!  —

I thank God for you.  

1 Corinthians 1:4 

The Message




This individual was sent to me many years ago, almost 20 years now.  My heart is forever grateful for the genuine and true friendship that has been mine all of these years.

He has the gift of encouragement, and he reaches across the miles to turn the corners of my mouth into a wide smile.

I believe the gift of encouragement is his calling.

What is YOUR calling?

When Doubt Creeps In

Last year I participated in the 31 days of writing along with a lot of other talented bloggers.  It was a challenge to think of a topic that you could talk about for 31 days straight.  While I completed the 31 days, and was extremely proud that I was able to stick with it, there was times when I doubted whether I had anything of real worth and value to contribute.  I’ll bet you have those moments as well.  Silent thoughts inside of your head trying to convince you to give up when you haven’t even really gotten started yet.

When doubt creeps in it is so easy to say, “You’re right!” while throwing in the towel.  But … please don’t.  You do have a lot to offer the world.  We need to read your words and hear what you’re speaking straight from your heart.  You do have something of worth and value to share.

Don’t let doubt keep you from joining in on this challenge in October.  If you’re unsure of a topic, there are two bloggers stepping up to the plate to offer you prompt words to get the juices flowing.  One is Kate, the host of Five Minute Fridays.  The other is Denise, who I have come to know and love through an (in)Courage group for writers that I participated in two Winters ago.  If you’d rather not write on a specific topic for 31 days, then join in on their prompt words.  But, if you’re just not feeling inspired at all, just write from your heart.  You cannot go wrong sharing your words that way.

Maybe you have a story inside of you screaming to get out.  Or, perhaps you need to talk about the pain from your past as a form of therapy.  I have used my blog for this purpose before.  Sometimes when the pain is so great, you just cannot get the words to slip from your lips.  You feel unable to speak, as you just do not want to talk about it out loud to any one.  That’s okay.  Some of the greatest forms of therapy for me has come from writing it all out.  Whether it is a letter to someone that has wronged me that I just write for the sole purpose of getting it out of me and onto paper or onto the computer screen with the intent of deleting or printing out and burning the paper afterwards as a form of release … it helps to write!

If I find that I’m stewing over something that is greatly troubling me, it helps to be released from my self made prison by writing about it.  If I harbor it all inside of my heart, it will fester.  I know that I will feel better once I release it, and so … out it comes.  This is easier for some, while it is much harder for others.  I do understand this as well.  Words flow once I really get started, whereas my husband, for example, struggles to express himself with words.  Take however long you need.  The point isn’t to rush through it.  The whole purpose is to get it out of you so you’ll begin to feel better.

Maybe you’d rather not write about something so personal.  If you choose not to delve into painful experiences from your past in these 31 days, that is completely understandable as well.  Maybe it’s 31 days of prayers you’d rather write about to encourage someone around you.  That would be AWESOME, by the way!

Just … write.

Do not let the doubt crowd out your creative thoughts that are just begging to come out.

I’d like to encourage you to accept the 31 day challenge, whether you write on a blog, in a journal, or write letters to people that have offended you or caused you grief in life (letters to later be ripped up or burned).

Join us in this challenge to write for 31 days straight beginning October 1st.


The year was 1989, and I had just graduated from high school in May of that year.  A few short months later when I was trying to stretch my wings out in this great big world, fear struck as a hurricane was headed our way.  I’ll never forget boarding up the windows of our home and securing items outside as much as possible as we awaited the storm that was approaching.  While it would hit landfall on the Isle of Palms near Charleston, South Carolina, an hour and a half away from my small hometown, it was such a massive storm that the effects would definitely be felt in my area.

My dad stayed up on storm watch as my sister and I tried to go to our separate rooms to sleep. I remember praying for our safety and trusting God to protect us all …

And … He did!

We lost power sometime in the night when my eyelids finally decided to close and allow sleep to come.  We awoke to downed trees, but thankfully our house did not sustain any real destruction or damage.  We were part of the lucky ones.  Yard cleanup was all that was required, and shortly after daybreak, we began this task in our front yard.

I’ll never forget wearing a knit sweater the color of the sun with a pair of Bermuda shorts as I helped my family clean up fallen limbs.  As I bent down to reach for another limb, a guy that expressed an interest in me during my Senior year of high school stopped by with a couple of his friends.  He could not hide his amusement as he smirked at my apparel, and looking back, I’m sure I was a complete mess with my hair pulled back in a ponytail working to get the yard free of debris.  I stopped only for a minute before continuing my task, and despite how I looked, I was just thankful to be there in one piece with my family on yard duty!

It’s hard to believe that 26 years have passed now since Hurricane Hugo swept across the coast of Charleston causing destruction along the way.  What is even harder to believe is that I have been out of school for those 26 years!  In my heart of hearts, I’m still YOUNG … and yet, time just keeps marching on trying to tell me that I’m not as young as I used to be.  Young at heart, though, is what I will always be!

This unforgettable moment was brought to you by the prompt phrase of “A moment I will never forget …” on Karen’s Tuesday at Ten.


Carry Hope

If you’re like me, you can never have enough bags!  Whether you’re looking to carry one to the market, the beach, or with you to hold your bible and journal, women just LOVE their bags!  Can I get an “AMEN!” ladies?

If you’ve been looking for THE perfect bag and haven’t really found one that holds up, then I have the bag for YOU!

Just recently I was introduced to Esperos Carry Hope bags.  Just the name itself should make you look for additional information, but you won’t have to look far as I have lots to share with you on Esperos!

Education is so important, and yet so many children in the developing world aren’t given the opportunity for a proper education.  Realizing this very real problem, Esperos steps in and gives 10% of the purchase price of their bags to The Nobelity Project.   This special project out of Texas works to fill the gap to ensure education is obtainable for these children!

I have had the pleasure of carrying around their market tote for a few weeks now, and I have to tell you that I am extremely impressed with the quality of the bag.  It is a heavy duty canvas bag that is stain resistant.  You can tell that this market tote will hold up for years to come!  I adore the words “Carry Hope” that are on the neutral colored bag that I chose!

Propeller / FlyBy Promotions gifted me with this tote in exchange for my unbiased opinion and review of the Esperos bags.

When I received my bag in the mail, another bag came with it for a giveaway.  Instead of doing a traditional giveaway on the blog, the ladies in my office gathered around to examine the bag.  They felt the canvas, looked inside of it to find a pouch inside that snaps in, and we talked about how we could very easily just carry our market tote to get grocery items and put our driver’s license, money, and credit cards in the pouch for easy access.  This way, you wouldn’t need to carry a separate purse!  Needless to say, they fell in love with this bag, and it was a tough decision to make … but I decided to gift one of my friends/co-workers with this bag.

While I don’t have a bag to offer in this giveaway presently, I do have an offer for you!  Esperos is going to give you a 15% discount for any bag purchased.  All you need to do is use the code EsperosMoms when checking out and the discount will be automatically applied!

Check them out!  You won’t be disappointed!  While you anticipate the arrival of your bag, know that you’ve helped the little children!

Feel good about yourself as you Carry Hope … and extend it to those in need by purchasing from Esperos.

Blessings to you!

A special thanks to Propeller/FlyBy Promotions for this wonderful bag!


Change The World

For my final day of the quote challenge, I share the following that really spoke to my heart.  If people are honest, everyone struggles from time to time in their relationships and marriages.  Sure, we would like to all believe only the good that is shared on Facebook.  The lovely pictures of couples holding hands or snuggling together as they take a selfie together.  Reminiscing about their wedding day by sharing pictures all dressed in lace and white while he’s in his tuxedo with his arms around you.  Even the family pictures where you’re smiling while holding each other next to your children.  Yes, those types of happy moments that we all wish would stay. Those picture perfect moments that we show the world.  Meanwhile, there are struggles behind closed doors, and maybe that is the beauty of Facebook and other social media in that we choose NOT to share those struggles with everyone on our friend’s list.  We choose to share the wonderful moments that warm our hearts as we pretend all is well … and at one point, it was … and it can be again.

Today I share this quote because it spoke to the depths of my heart about a rekindling love that my husband and I have for each other.  We’re honest about our struggles, yet we’re rebuilding, rekindling, and we are living our picture perfect love story out now.  We thank GOD for our marriage, our children, our love, and each other.  Our love matches those picture perfect moments … and I hope they will stay.

If you want to change the world …

love a woman, just one woman.

Love and protect her

as if she is the last holy vessel.

Love her through her fear of abandonment

which she has been holding for all of humanity.

No, the wound is not hers to heal alone.

No, she is not weak in her co-dependence.

If you want to change the world…

love a woman all the way through

until she believes you,

until her instincts, her visions, her voice,

her art, her passion, her wildness have returned to her-

until she is a force of love more powerful

than all the political media demons

who seek to devalue and destroy her.

~ Lisa Citore ~

True Freedom

For day two of this challenge, I’d like to share with you a quote that has really meant so much to me through the years since I found it.  This quote is from Joyce Meyer.  Now, I do realize that some people love her while others do not.  I’m not here to debate at all on this but to offer the quote that helped me when I needed it the most.

True freedom never comes until we fully realize

that we don’t need to struggle to get from man

what God freely gives us:








~Joyce Meyer~

I wanted to emphasize on the words, thus the reason I placed them by themselves to really draw attention to them.

How many times have we all struggled in this area?  Whether we were trying so hard to gain the approval of our parents, siblings, or other family members … or whether it was friends or coworkers on the job … or maybe even approval from a controlling person that focused only on themselves unless they were tearing at your self esteem and self worth?  I think we have all struggled from time to time with self esteem issues and self confidence.  When I found this in one of Joyce Meyer’s books, it screamed at me,


We have everything we’ve been searching for right there in the arms of Jesus Christ!  God not only approves of us, He loves us so completely!  There is no need to strive to gain from man what GOD freely gives each and every one of us!

Be blessed and encouraged today, whether you’re a huge fan of Joyce Meyer or not.  Her words encouraged me when I greatly needed it at a time in my life when I was extremely down and out over the disapproval of others all around me in the work place.  Thankfully, I was able to get out of that toxic work environment.  This quote helped to strengthen me and realize that my strength came from the Lord … who has already approved me, loved me, and offers so much love and acceptance while providing security!  I know I have worth and value.  My Jesus tells me so!