Sunday, September 29, 2013

Don't Forget to Pack Your Tambourine!

Early last week I received an unexpected phone call from my sister-in-law, Hubby's sister, Lauren (yes, her name is also Lauren--there's more to that story, not sure if I've ever shared it, but it's for another time) and she had a last minute proposition for me:  she was travelling with a group of ladies to see Beth Moore in Tulsa and one of the ladies had a family emergency come up and wouldn't be able to attend...did I want to go?!?  My initial thought was...YES! What a fun opportunity! Quickly followed by NO! Because that is totally out of my comfort zone.  But in the end...YES!!!  After some urging from Hubby to go for it and also permission from my boss aka Dad to go...I called my dear SIL back and said I was in.  So...on Friday I met up at her house with her & 4 other ladies and we began the trip to Tulsa for a quick getaway.  

Oh, and before I go any further, I should probably mention one more tiny little the drummer for Travis Cottrell, Beth Moore's long-time worship leader?  Yeah, the drummer is my first cousin and basically my older brother!!!  Which of course gave me all the more reason to step out of my comfort zone and get myself to Tulsa!
The view from our seats...stage is to the right of the drummer aka my cousin!

We grabbed some lunch and did some shopping before checking into our hotel. one of the main perks of knowing someone in the band, my cousin was able to arrange for our group, 10 of us in total, to have reserved seats on the first and second rows! Talk about a connection!  This was so huge because it meant that we didn't HAVE to be there standing in line waiting for the doors to open to get decent seats.

Our reserved seat signs!

My cousin rocking it out and praising God!  

We had wonderful seats and I was able to witness my cousin be a part of God's incredible work through Beth Moore & her Living Proof Live series.  After the Friday night session I was also able to meet up with my cousin the drummer & his brother--obviously also my cousin, and just have some great quality time with them...and I honestly couldn't tell you the last time we had that--if ever.  I'm a little bummed I didn't get a picture of them--but we were all a little worn out after a long day!  Needless to say, it was one of the highlights of the trip!

Oh, and in addition to seeing my cousins & getting to hear Beth Moore for the first time...I ran into, and of course had to snap a picture of two of my favorite bloggers!  Megan from Tale of the Trees--I seriously have been reading her blog since before I even started blogging & can I just say she is just as precious in person as she is on her blog?  We literally only talked for like 2 minutes, but oh how I wish we could have hung out longer!

And then Ashley from The Vanilla Tulip, who actually was a real-life friend before we found each other's blogs!  She is an absolutely gorgeous momma of 4 who seriously warms my heart and it made my day to see her not once but twice in the gigantic auditorium full of 7700 people!

Besides having the wonderful opportunity to catch up with my cousins & meet some dear friends, I also got to hear some pretty stinkin' powerful words from God as Beth spoke about the story of Miriam, Moses' older sister, and her incredibly important role in the story of Moses & the Israelites.  There were so many incredible pieces of information shared by Beth, but maybe one of the most important ones was this...

"When faith takes you on a journey, don't forget to pack your tambourine!"

You see, after Moses lead the Israelites across the Red Sea, he broke out into a song and Miriam then repeated a chorus of that song when she led a group of ladies in dancing with her tambourine.  When they fled Egypt, it wasn't a slow process.  They didn't have time to just pack up everything they wanted to...they were focused on getting the heck out of dodge, as quickly as possible!  So...why would a woman take time to pack a tambourine, unless she EXPECTED God to do something that was worth celebrating?!?  

Beth's point, and really just one point of many great ones...was that I should always pack my tambourine because I never know when I might have one of those moments when I need to break out and praise God for what he's doing!  
My dear SIL, Hubby's sister,---the two Lauren's!  

Without boring you all to tears with all the incredible nuggets of wisdom I gained from this weekend, let me just say that it was totally a God thing for me to go...and he definitely used this weekend to speak some wisdom into me that I have been needing to hear for a long time. And of course, knowing someone who could hook us up with some fabulous seats wasn't all that shabby either! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

5 on Friday!

I'm thinking up again with 5 on Friday...go check out the other fabulous ladies' who participate!  I think this is the biggest link up I've ever been a part of!  

1.  We were planning on it anyway, but we HAD to get back from Destin in one day for this little lady!  My precious niece Harper was dedicated at church on Sunday morning, and NONE of us were going to miss that!  She & Elyse are going to be two peas in a pod one of these days since they are only 18 months apart. 

2.  Elyse had to come to work with us for a few hours on Tuesday morning.  As you can see, things are always interesting when it's bring your daughter to work day!  Thank goodness for office supplies!

3.  Courtesy of this fabulous blog--Pinterest Told Me To...I bought my first pair of booties..TOMS booties! I picked them up in Destin and couldn't wait to break them out once I got home...and what better day to wear them than the first work day of fall!  I know I'm going to get so much wear out of these this fall & winter! 

4.  Wednesday night we made our annual trek to pick up pumpkins for our front porch.  It isn't an official pumpkin patch, more of a fireworks stand that sells pumpkins this time of year...however, they always have a fabulous selection.  We'll definitely be visiting at least one if not two actual pumpkin patches before Fall is over!  I always love our front porch all pumpkin-fied!  

5.  Since we got back from Florida, I've been trying to continue the no morning nap routine and it's working for the most part.  Wednesday morning we went to storytime at the library and today we had a playdate at a local farm-park with my bestie & her little boy.  The only thing that doesn't seem to be working is that she's taking a shorter afternoon nap than normal--so today I picked her up and we snuggled into her chair to extend her nap a bit, she slept another hour all curled up in my arms!  Love the cuddles....of course I guess her shorter naps could also have to do with this mean momma who cut off some of the end of her pacifier...but more on that in another post.  
Have a great Fall weekend ladies...I'm headed to the Beth Moore Conference in Tulsa with my SIL and couldn't be more excited!  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Destin, FL ~ Part 1

So...our trip began Friday, September 13th around noon.  We left my parent's house, grabbed some drive-thru lunch and chugged away at over half of the drive before stopping for the night in Jackson, MS.  The next morning we got up with Elyse and headed out to finish our trip to Destin.  Our "road trip" essentials will be for another post, but let's just say that Elyse did AMAZING!!!  We tried to time things around her naptimes and this worked great for us!  She certainly didn't sleep the whole time, but we were able to get some good chunks of driving done while she snoozed away!  
We arrived about 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, checked in, and started the process of unloading--what you see below is only the stuff from Hubby & I's car--my parents car was full as well!  

We headed down to the beach late in the afternoon just to give Elyse a feel for what the rest of the week was going to hold.  She definitely wasn't a huge fan of the sand or the ocean at first...understandably.  I think she most bothered by the fact that the sand made her feet & hands "dirty."  Thankfully she warmed up to it and was a completely different little girl by the next morning!  

First family pic on the beach of 2013
 We spent almost all of our days on the beach rotating with who went up in the afternoon for Elyse's nap.  Let's be honest, Hubby took most of those shifts, but my dad & I helped out a few days!
My peaceful place

Not so sure about those crazy waves on the first day...clinging tight to momma!

 We went out for dinner most nights, but got pizza one night and BBQ another--part of vacation for us is eating out and eat out we did!  
Family pic!
These two melt my heart!
Before we left, Elyse had started struggling with the her afternoon nap--and I think it was because she was still taking a short morning nap.  So...we decided to sacrifice the morning nap for more beach time & it seemed to work great for her!  Most morning she would sit down in the shade for 20-30 minutes about halfway through the morning, but then she was ready to go, go, go again!  
Chilling & snacking!
Checking out the water
Think someone's having fun?!?
Oh how I love this picture of my two loves! 

We couldn't go to Destin and not eat at McGuire's Irish Pub--and we also left a dollar bill on the wall with her name on it!  
Elyse's $ bill!
 A little bit of a difference from last year to this year!

A beautiful rainbow we were able to enjoy on Tuesday evening.  
 By the second day on the beach, Elyse was an old pro!  She seemed to love the water & the sand, and definitely got into playing in it!  She would keep telling all of us "out" and pushing us out of our chairs if we were sitting still for too long!  
A girl and her sand toys!
Pure joy!

On Wednesday night, Hubby planned a surprise date night for us and we left Elyse with Gigi & Papa and went to Beach Walk Cafe at Henderson Park Inn.  It was an incredibly restaurant with wonderful views & just a great evening for Hubby & I to have to ourselves!  The sunset was stunning that night which made it even better!  

Elyse was actually fussy in this picture, but I love it!

Love this man!

Not a bad view for dinner!
I didn't hardly feel like we were on the Gulf Coast....Henderson Park Inn had a very East coast feel!
A gorgeous rain storm just a bit off shore!
My love and a beautiful sunset!
God is awesome!
And as a finishing touch, they gave every a lady a long-stemmed rose after dinner!  Nice!
Perfect date night with my perfect guy!
Next up...more of the same, but some more great pics from our fabulous family beach vacation!

Monday, September 23, 2013

We're Back!!! Destin, Florida 2013

We're back from a fantastic week long vacation on the white sandy beaches of Destin, Florida.  We drove the 12+ hours,which ended up being more like 15 hours with stops...but we all survived and really only had about a 1 hour span on the way home that was a little rough! 

I'll have a full vacation recap soon...but for now, here's a few pics from our fabulous trip!