Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Table

It was 5:00pm when I locked the door behind me and settled into my big old room.  I was completely lost.  I walked around wandering what to do!  No one to look after, it was a strange and glorious feeling.

After unpacking my bags and ironing my wrinkled clothes (get that out of the way first!) I lit my Beach Day candle and grabbed the room service menu.  It is the second time I've ever ordered room service and can I just say it was super fun.

For the next 5 hours I feasted on good food, the Word and some good prayer time.  It was heaven on earth and I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

Between the Bacon Cheeseburger and Carrot Cake I decided to try out the Crabtree & Evelyn bath products which smelled amazing. Comfy in my strawberry gown Mamaw gave me, hair pulled and pinned back to dry, I was having a jolly ol' time.  I settled in for the Carrot Cake and some more church.

After a very restful night sleep I was ready to wake up and take it all in.  The next morning I slept until 10:30am.  I missed the free breakfast but who the heck cares, I slept in till after 10, that is a big score in my book.  Heh heh heh!

This is a little lounge Zondervan had set up.  It was a peaceful room with coffee and tea.  Is that not the coolest?

This is the table I sat at during most of the large group sessions and dinners.  Just gorgeous.

Every time we entered for a new large group session there was a new booklet at our place setting.

For me, She Speaks was 4 days of feasting at the table of the Lord.  I hope the Lord asks me to go back again!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

She Speaks 2012-The People

She Speaks 2012 was an amazing experience.   Earlier this year, the Lord used a passage out of 2 Peter to confirm this was a step of obedience He was asking of me.  "Though they are aliens who have been scattered, they have been chosen to obey Jesus Christ."  I thought that's how I would feel, like an alien and stranger who had been scattered. Ya know, packing up, heading to North Carolina where I knew no one, going to a conference for speakers and writers.  By myself.

The night before I left I got 3 hours of sleep.  What on earth have I gotten myself into???  What purse should I take?  It was the middle of the night and I'm re-working totes, purses and luggage.  We picked my husband up from the airport and 9 hours later I was heading back to fly into the wild blue yonder.

I was not alone though.  The friendly faces greeted me the entire way.  Precious women on the plane, encouraging me.  They were handpicked by God alone! 

One of the most fun surprises was meeting Gretchen!  She is the most humble, sweet spirited, encourager you'll ever meet.  Gretchen is gifted with writing truth and her words of wisdom have encouraged me so many days when I needed it.  She writes at New Every Morning.  We got to have lunch together and can I just tell you it was so amazing getting to eat together and visit in person!  I love this girl!

My boys had a good time editing our photos.  The Shark Accessory.  It's making a come back.

Now I want you to meet my roomie, Stephanie.  This is the first time I've ever stayed with someone I did not know.  Can I just tell you that I prayed for sheer, flat out blessing on me and my roommate.  I'm not one to ask for favor and blessing like that, but I did on this one.  And God was so fun in putting Stephanie and I together.  Oh, she is one amazing girl.  She's a prayer warrior, a giver and an encourager.  It was perfect to get to share our She Speaks journey together.  I'll be telling you more about her later in the week.

Cary!  This surprise was one of the sweetest.  For weeks I thought I was going alone.  At the very end, I found out Cary, a friend from college ministry back in the day, was also going.  We really enjoyed getting to sit together, process and take it all in together.  Cary is an extremely gifted artist. You can view her website here.  She sells gorgeous calenders that make great gift ideas.  They are under $20!

Wait for it, wait for it...

I.  Met.  The Nester!  I will never forget the surprise on my face when I turned a corner, kept walking, past her and then stopped dead in my tracks.  THAT WAS THE NESTER?!  I didn't even turn around.  I just walked backwards to do a double-take.  She saw me and started laughing.  You know,  you never want to be the paparazzi asking for a pic, but I mean really.  I had to say hi!  Here is an old entry from 3 years ago when I applied to win a scholarship to She Speaks.  One of the reasons I wanted to go was to meet Nester.  God has a funny sense of humor!

She was visiting her sister, Emily, who writes at Chatting At The Sky, and recently published the book, Grace For The Good Girl.

To say there were surprises around every corner is an understatement!

This is Mary, you can meet her here.  She was my Speaker Evaluation Group leader.  She is beautiful and funny.  And she was so kind to us, easing our nerves by her smile and humor.

This special group of ladies and I share a common bond.  This is our Speaker Evaluation Group.  We are the wild women who voluntarily signed up to give two talks and have them each evaluated.  Yikes!  I learned so much from their wisdom, it was a precious time.

So that's a wrap on the people edition of She Speaks. There is so much to share I'm having to contain myself to break it up.  I met more amazing women than the beautiful faces here.

Every woman with a different story, all working together for the display of His Glory.  It was an amazing sight to behold.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer's End

Exactly 4 weeks ago Shane loaded a plane headed for a 16 day mission trip.  He came home and I left for She Speaks in North Carolina.  Add a few house guests in between and last night was the first night since July 3rd that we were all settled at home under one roof together.

It was a great feeling falling asleep at 10:04pm last night, all 5 of us home, safe and sound.  28 days apart this summer doing mission work.  We had a good stay at my parents, then my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a week and we had a ball.  It's been a great summer.

The suitcases are unpacked and I've been getting back into the routine of things today.  I can't wait to tell you about She Speaks.  Last night we celebrated my Mamaw's 87th birthday.  Summer's coming to an end and it has been a good one. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Eat More Chicken

Cow Appreciation Day was a huge success this year. 

The Cow Bells were ringing when we walked in.

We saw several of our good friends there.

It's always good to gather in Cow Attire on a Friday evening.  We don't do it enough in our society, do we?

My little heifers are growing up and for some reason they weren't excited about wearing trash bags out and about.  There was some talk about them looking like dummy-heads.  I assured them it would be worth it in the end.

My 6 year old ate an entire 12 count grown-up meal.

Moo hoo hoo!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cow Appreciation Day

Tomorrow is Cow Appreciation Day.  That is code for dress yourself up like a cow and go to Chick-fil-A for a free meal. 

In our family we use trash bags.  Cut out a hole for the neck and arms and then print off these cow spots. Staple them to the bag and Voila!  A Cow Costume fit for a redneck king.  This year we are even offering Plus Size Costuming for anyone in our family who is interested.  It will consist of a black Lawn & Garden bag. 

Last year there was some complaint coming from the back of the bus about the floral nature of our scented bags, so this year we've rectified the situation and should have a van full of happy campers.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My New Favorite Room

Welcome to my new favorite room in the house.  It's the former playroom turned sitting room.  One question I've learned to ask when decorating is,

"What is the purpose of this room?"

This is my Bible reading, hang out with the women folk, curl up in the chair and read room. 

Below is what it looked like before we painted. 

The walls are Benjamon Moore's Hancock Green.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this color.  It has the word Beach written all over it.  It is perfect.  Very calm and serene which is exactly the feel I wanted.

The Seaside Living sign is a little treasure we got from Amelia Island last Fall.  For $7.95 ThankYouVeryMuch.  It's always fun to get a little fun decor for your house to remember your trips by, while on vacation. 

Layers that tell your story hanging from the walls and sitting on the tables. 

This window was only $18 bucks.  That's a steal considering some are selling for $45.00.

And you know about my Flower Patch Farmgirl Calender.  Well, I just love it to pieces.

A little night shot.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

So, Becke' gives me these 5 star recipes with rave reviews, I cook 'em and eat to many of 'em and write about 'em.  These cookies did not dissappoint.  They are award winners.

Blue Ribbon.

So light and fluffy and wonderful.  The best part?   You are probably only 1 fresh lemon away from having a plate of these little wonderful clouds of goodness in your hands.

Want the recipe? I thought you'd never ask! Here ya' go.

1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 whole egg
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling dough balls in before baking)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease pans with Pam. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again.

Stir in dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl down and briefly mix again. Pour powdered sugar in a cereal bowl. Roll a heaping tsp. of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar.

Place on baking sheet and bake 9-11 minutes or until bottoms barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny).

Remove from oven and let cool on pan about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. * If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.