Having Fun With the Girls

The big day is almost here, and in preparation I invited Amanda, Brooke, and Allie to go with me for pedicures and dinner. I've never had a pedicure before. I don't know if it's because I had a brother and raised sons, or if it's because I was too cheap to splurge. I decided with Scott about to get married and Tim and I about to be empty-nesters, it was time.

Amanda made our appointment, and Brooke made dinner plans. We drove to Lexington and were taken back to a nice room with soothing music and comfortable chairs with a little whirlpool tub at our feet. We each picked our paint color and settled in.

Brooke and Allie were super good, and we had a good time.

Next we headed to Brooke's favorite place to eat, Panera. The girls enjoyed mac and cheese while Amanda and I ate soup and sandwiches. It was so fun to hang out with these girls I love.

Hillary Scott & The Scott Family - Thy Will

A couple of years ago I focused on following God's will for my life. So many times when I don't understand a situation, I turn it over to the Lord and say, "Thy will be done." I don't always get my way, but I know God's ways are better than my ways.

Isaiah 55:8-9New International Version (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Wax Myrtle

You've heard of Myrtle Beach, SC, but have you heard of a Wax Myrtle (Myrica Cerifera)?

My research shows it's either a small tree or a large shrub.

It's related to the Crepe Myrtle which is one of my favorite trees since the day I moved to Athens, Georgia.

The Wax Myrtle attracts birds like the yellow-rumped warbler. The root bark is astringent and can be used as an herbal remedy. (No, I"m not recommending this to treat itchy skin.) But the fruit of this tree can be used to make candles or soaps.

Wax Myrtles can be found many places including Bald Head Island. Maybe you can spot one from our view at the top of Old Baldy.

Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed day!

Walking in Downtown Cincinnati

Saturday we spent the day in Cincinnati, Ohio to attend the wedding of some dear friends. We attended the rehearsal dinner the night before and decided to stay for the night. One of the hotel employees suggested we go to Adriatico's on West McMillan Street. He said it was about a mile from the hotel. We easily walk a mile every day and decided not to drive.

Walking a mile in Cincinnati is so different than a mile in Wilmore. Before we got out of the parking lot, we saw a helicopter land on top of a hospital. After that we saw beautiful churches, old houses, new apartments, construction, and trendy shops and restaurants on our mile walk.

After seeing these and many more interesting things, we made it to Adriatico's. We split their summer salad which was delicious and a Hawaiian pizza.

We enjoyed our walk and our lunch and we learned exploring a city on foot is a lot of fun.

Moving toward the Big Day

In December Scott proposed to Kellianne, and she said yes.

Since then the months have flown, and we're less than two weeks away from the wedding.

We've celebrated birthdays, attended showers, enjoyed Easter, and Kelli graduated. It's been a wonderful and fun year full of blessings. We look forward to Kellianne Crouse becoming Kellianne Layton and our new daughter!

Bald Head Island Conservancy

What is the Bald Head Island Conservancy?

It's a non-profit whose mission is barrier island conservation, preservation, and education. IT sponsors and aids in scientific research that helps coastal communities. It provides many fun and educational activities to children and adults.

The students we met in the Conservancy were friendly and helpful. They have programs with names like Jr. Scientist, Budding Naturalist, Marsh Kid's Fishing, and Hands On Dissection. They have lab stations in the main building and take kids exploring. As a child I think a trip to the Bald Head Island Conservancy would be tons of fun.

If you have an opportunity to visit the Conservancy, I'd highly recommend it.

Flag of the Week

This week's flag comes from the Ashley Inn at Meadow Lake Equestrian Center in Lancaster, KY.

Ashley Inn is more than a bed and breakfast. It can be the site for retreats, holiday parties, special events and corporate meetings. And even more exciting, it's a great place for a wedding and reception. And the future site for Scott and Kelli's wedding later this month.

We stopped by the other day, and enjoyed the beauty of the setting and the friendliness of the horses. The owner says some of the horses even like to come to the fence and watch weddings. We plan to bring carrots in case that happens.

Bald Head Island

Over the next few weeks, I plan to share about Bald Head Island. It's more than a beach or fancy place to play golf. In June we visited and were surprised how much wild life inhabits the island.

The major mode of transportation on the island is golf carts.

Our first stop was to rent a cart for the day and explore the island. We knew we wanted to explore the beaches and hike a nature trail.
Tim saw a deer and we saw many different birds and a turtle's nest marked off for safety. The island is also home to alligators and red and gray fox. Thank goodness we didn't see any alligators.

We saw a snake on the road, and we saw other snakes at the Conservancy. I think Bald Head Island would be a great place to vacation with children because there are so many nature activities to enjoy.

Next week I'll share more about the Conservancy.

Signs of Patriotism

As I ran around my little part of the country this weekend, I saw signs of patriotism. So many people appreciate the freedom we have, and it shows.

Concerts and parades were scheduled to celebrate the Fourth of July and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Fireworks have gone off every night for days. Americans still love the USA!

Enjoy these pictures of our American Spirit!

Even the sunset seemed to show a little American pride.

Our Nation's Liberty and Freedom

Today I'd like to welcome my friend, Rose Allen McCauley, to my blog.

As the wife of a veteran of the Viet Nam era, I know much of the hardships and heartaches our veterans and their families have endured. And some have given that ultimate sacrifice of their lives or suffered injuries that changed their lives forever.

As we remember our servicemen and women—past, present, and future—this weekend, I want to tell you a little about the courageous heroines in my latest book just released by Barbour.

Courageous Brides is a collection of nine novellas (short enough to read one or more in a day) about nine courageous heroines, and of course, their nine courageous partners.

This is how Barbour describes these stories on Amazon.com: Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?

My story is the one about Elinor (named after my youngest granddaughter) who becomes involved in the abolitionist movement as she matures into womanhood and realizes how unfairly the slaves in our country were treated.

“Hidden Courage” is set in the town and house where my Elinor now lives, and the idea came to me when I learned of the hidden room that was discovered in the basement of their pre-Civil War home when it was remodeled by her grandparents.

I hope you will check it out on Amazon where right now the paperback is cheaper than the kindle edition! http://amzn.to/28UUUhq
Happy reading and have a safe, happy 4th of July week! And if you want to see more pictures of the pre-Civil War home which is the setting for this story, come to visit my blog next Tuesday, July 5th, for more photos and info.

Rose Allen McCauley has been writing over a decade and is happy to see her fourth book published. Her website is www.rosemccauley.com and you can find her on FB under Rose Allen McCauley and tweet to her @RoseAMcCauley

Be Light

Samuel Rodriguez challenges us to be light in a dark world. I'd like to share this quote with you today.

"Every person on the planet either shines light or facilitates the expansion of darkness.

My mission is simple. I want to be a light.

I want to be light in a very dark world.

I want to be light by recognizing the image of God in every human being.

I want to be light by reconciling Billy Graham's message with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march.

I want to reconcile righteousness with justice, sanctification with service, holiness with humility, conviction with compassion, and truth with love.

In short, I want to change the world. And I want you to join me." Samuel Rodriguez

In Samuel's speech at Asbury University's 2016 graduation and in his book he challenges us to be light in a dark world. If you ever have an opportunity to hear this man speak, go. He also has a book out, Be Light.

I think the first step for us to be light is to get into the word of God.

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light." Luke 11:33 NIV

Today I challenge us all to find some way to be light in a dark world. It can be as simple as saying a kind word to a friend, store clerk, or a waitress. I'd love to hear how you find ways to be light.

Going Up South by Janet Ferguson

My good friend, Janet Ferguson, has a new book out. I'm not going to give a book review today, but I'd like to encourage you to get a copy of this story.

Are you going on a mission trip this summer? You might enjoy reading this story. It's a love story with a mission trip.

Here are a few tidbits about Going Up South.

No one told him he had a son.

Actor Dylan Conner is furious. Not only has he been left out of his child’s life, the baby boy has been given another man’s last name. Determined to be a better father than the sorry guy who’d left him and his mother, Dylan fights to ensure a significant place in his son’s life. Unfortunately, his bad-boy reputation overshadows his good intentions. Only one woman in this small town sees beyond his Hollywood image. And he’s falling for her. Too bad she’s the custody mediator.

After her scandalous divorce in the small town of Oxford, Mississippi, attorney Cassie Brooks has no intentions of practicing law again. The humiliating experience left a bitter taste for love, marriage, and her profession.

Now friends need Cassie’s help in a custody negotiation, and her role demands she remain objective. She never expected to be drawn to Dylan Conner—the actor who everyone warns is bad news. Not only is the mediation at stake, but so is her heart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

You can find Janet's books at the following places:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Going-Up-South-Southern-Hearts/dp/0997482265
EBook: Amazon
Barnes & Noble Nook

Flag of the Week

If you don't have a place to hang a flag, there are many creative ways to show your patriotism.

Love your country. Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him. ~Giuseppe Mazzini

Bachelor Party

A friend and I were talking about how much more elaborate weddings are now than years ago. Instead of a bridal luncheon, the bridesmaids go away for a weekend to Destin or Atlanta or another fun destination.

Guys don't go out drinking the night before, at least not the guys I know. They go to ballgames, play golf, or run a Tough Mudder. If you've followed my blog for long you know my son, Scott, is getting married later this summer. My other son, Bill, is best man. So Bill asked the groomsmen if they'd be interested in running the Tough Mudder at Kentucky Speedway. Most everybody said yes and was able to make it to the race.

They left town at 6:30 A.M. Sunday morning. The weather forecast was HOT with the possibility of setting a record, but that didn't deter these guys. They drove from as far away as The Outer Banks, and one of the guys was leaving for Europe after the race. They stepped out of their normal lives to celebrate Scott's passage and to grow closer as friends and family.

Nathan, Garrett, Scott, Bill, Bradley, Jordan, and Patrick are lined up here before the race in the Super Hero shirts. It was already hot, but the fun was just about to begin.

Even though it's called a race, it's more about friendship. You work together with your teammates against obstacles to reach the end. The guys claim it's fun, I won't argue. It's also a challenge you get to share with your friends, and I know there's nothing like a challenge to bond a friendship.

Iron sharpen iron; so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 I believe there may have been some sharpening on Sunday.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

I don't know about you, but I believe these guys will be friends for life.

Flag of the Week

This week's flag comes from Bald Head Island.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Flag of the Week

Today I'd like to share a quote from Mark Twain. “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.” I'm not sure what he'd think about our country today, but I'll remain loyal to the USA.

Spreading the Word One Shell At a Time

Saturday we went for a walk on Holden Beach. No matter how many beach trips we take, I can't help but notice the shells.

This time I noticed something different. There was a message in a shell.

I walked a little farther and found more shells with scripture and inspirational messages.

And then I found this...

Acts 2:32 NIV says, "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it." Whoever thought of these shells found a creative way to share the word. I hope we can all find ways to spread the Good News.