Rest.

Palmetto Bluff is my favorite vacation spot in all the world… you know you’re in for total relaxation when the staff uses the word “porching” to describe their afternoon appetizer service on the porch of the Inn overlooking the May River!

Chad and I have been to Palmetto Bluff about half a dozen times and we never get tired of it. It’s the perfect getaway for us. It’s less than two hours from home and is an easy drive. The boys love the freedom that they have there (it is VERY quiet) and just revel in family time where we have no distractions.

Our dear friends and their three children joined us for a few days so our “porching” became a little more active than usual…

We stayed in a wonderful house in the West Wilson section of Palmetto Bluff (courtesy of a sweet friend) and had an absolute ball! We rode bikes, went swimming, picnicked at Moreland (where we were visited by a friendly dolphin), played bocce and croquet, made smores in the evenings, went for golf cart rides (at night too!), ate good food, played table games, grilled out, and enjoyed wonderful fellowship with family and friends. Chad and I even got to have dinner at the River House Restaurant, thanks to Courtney Boryk who owns a fantastic babysitting service in several cities. If you’re ever in any of the cities she services, check her out! The boys loved her and she did a remarkable job.

Davis was a good sport and rode with Miles in the bike trailer so that we could take a long bike ride. Once we convinced him that no-one could see him and think he was a baby, he enjoyed being pulled around instead of trying to keep up on his little bike with training wheels.

Colin, on the other hand, is now the best bike rider in our family! He’s definitely better than me. He lost one of his top two teeth early in the week and speculated that the tooth fairy wouldn’t be able to find him at Palmetto Bluff.  She found him and he got to pick out a special treat at RT’s Market.

Vacations are a little busy when you have six children running around! In the photo below, they are waiting for the dolphin to reappear. We were at the dock at Moreland for over 30 minutes and the dolphin was right there. I couldn’t catch a photo of it with my iPhone though 😦

Our time together was rich and sweet. It’s good to get away for a change in perspective. We get so caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life. We forget to enjoy the little things that really matter. We are in a particularly busy season of life right now. My parents have been away, work is more time-consuming than usual, and life with three boys — one of whom is an active nine-month old — entails a lot of running around. I’ve written before about trying to lead an organized life and how I’ve finally come to the realization that it’s not going to happen anytime soon! It was so precious to enjoy things that I’m usually too busy to appreciate.

Although though it’s a stretch to claim that we are “burdened”, I am certainly “weary” so the verse below was perfect for our vacation:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest

Matthew 11:28

We certainly had rest. Physical, mental, and emotional. It was just what I needed. While biking along the bluffs overlooking the river, I was reminded that He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul.


We left Palmetto Bluff restored, refreshed and rejuvenated.

We were a little sad to leave but the boys had a surprise waiting for them when we got home… Gram Gram and Papa were at our house after being gone for three months!! We celebrated by going to dinner at Brixx in Mount Pleasant.


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Missing in Action…

The weather is perfect and I am “missing in action” from my blog! We are enjoying simply being with the family this week. Will post photos soon! We are having a ball  🙂

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 9:51 am  Comments (4)  
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Keeping Your Word

Little things mean so much to small children. As a little girl, I remember waiting and waiting for something because my mom said “maybe next time we’ll do that.”  In my mind that meant, “Yes, of course we’ll do that!” and was disappointed when it didn’t happen. It wasn’t even something major but I remember thinking that my mom didn’t keep her word. As a child that was really upsetting. Now as a mom, I wonder how often I do the exact same thing!!

After the time change, Colin came into our room at 3:50 am and asked me if I would take him to Starbucks before school. (Please keep in mind that it was 3:50 in the morning!!) I mumbled something like “we’ll see” and put him back to bed. Well, that set an expectation that we were going to go to Starbucks. With three small children (and also the fact that Colin is at kindergarten in Mount Pleasant by 7:45), going out for breakfast is a very rare occasion!

He asked each morning and I’d have a reason why we couldn’t go. We talk so much about “keeping our word” in our family. I realized that, in his eyes, I wasn’t keeping mine.

So — I woke up really early yesterday morning and we left home around 7:00. And went to Starbucks. And I had the most special time with my little guy! I’m so thankful that we made this happen. These little things mean so much.

Matthew 5:37a ~ Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’.

I struggle with promising too much because I hate to disappoint my children. It’s much easier to answer “maybe later” when they ask if we can go to the park when the answer should be, “No. Not today.” I realize that this type of answer probably sets false expectations. I pray that I can break the habit and just let my “yes” mean “yes” and my “no” mean “no”.

Whew! It’s hard being a mom 🙂

Traditions

I love traditions. I think they become part of the fabric of a family. My family had a few great traditions growing up but they were nothing compared to Chad’s family. The Johnsons have traditions for just about everything and I love it!

On St. Patrick’s Day, Chad’s mom has made corned beef and cabbage for as long as Chad can remember. There are many advantages to living so close to them –tonight they brought over corned beef, cabbage, cheese sauce, potatoes, carrots, green jello, and green coffee cake. What an awesome meal. At one point, I sat back and just looked at everyone. I wondered what traditions Chad and I will pass down to our children. What will “stick”? Do we actually have any traditions at all?

After thinking about it, I realized that we have everyday traditions and special occasion traditions like everyone else. We pray before meals and with our each of our children every night. We collect all birthday money from relatives and spend it at Toys R Us on their actual birthdays. We sing the same songs at bedtime. We check on the boys and re-tuck them in each night before we go to sleep. We make a Christmas photo book each year to preserve our memories. We go to Sweet Treats for ice cream when we go to the mountains. We order pizza and the boys wear their jerseys for the first Clemson football game of the season. We make special breakfasts on the weekends. We play Uno on vacations. We write down things we are thankful for during the month of November. We always buy new Christmas PJs. We spend New Year’s Eve with several of our dear friends. We watch Elf every Christmas. We visit James Island to see the Christmas lights. We buy coordinating Easter outfits. We sit on our top porch on the fourth of July and watch the fireworks over the lake. When we’re doing these things, they don’t really feel like traditions but I guess that they are!

I love Noel Piper’s book Treasuring God in Our Traditions. It got me thinking about traditions in a different way. How traditions help provide families with stability. How the anticipation of them is part of the fun.

Another tradition is wearing a silly hat on our birthdays. Here’s Davis at 4 and 5.

Coffee (and Psalm 121)

I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Chad drinks it and I love the smell of coffee brewing in the morning. I just never drank it. I liked coffee ice cream, coffee milk shakes, coffee cake… just not actual coffee.

That all changed while on a vacation soon after Miles was born. Don’t ask me why. I was relaxed and it seemed like an enjoyable thing to do while sitting on a porch swing overlooking a mountain range. BAM!! I was hooked. How did I miss out on this awesome beverage for over three decades? Then my friend Beth introduced me to the non-fat Toffee Nut Latte  (it’s not on the menu but they know what you’re talking about) at Starbucks and I finally understood the Starbucks hype!

Sadly, my affair with coffee has now come to an end. The caffeine was getting to me and adding two packets of Splenda to each cup didn’t help. So…I’m on a caffeine “fast” for the next several weeks. Maybe forever. Two cups a day had become the norm for me so this is hard. I used to get up really early, turn on the fire, do my morning Bible Study, and watch the sun rise. A hot cup of coffee was my companion. Now I feel lost without it!

It goes to show that too much of a good thing can become a problem. I had bad headaches the first week of cutting out caffeine. Now I’m only drinking water and milk and I really do feel much better.

But — boy, I sure do miss my coffee!! Every time I see someone with a hot cup of Joe… I feel the temptation 😦

So next time I’m in the mountains, I will take in the scenery without a hot cup of coffee and meditate on this great verse:

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:1-2.

I love that verse. When I am anxious and have trouble resting, it’s good to know that He’s awake and in control so that I can sleep.

And maybe the lack of coffee will help me to focus more on Him and what He’s teaching me as the sun rises in the morning!

(That’s actually a photo at dusk but I thought it was pretty ;))

One Weekend… Two Very Different Days… Both Awesome!

What is it about weekends that make me feel like a kid again? I love weekends. Even when I’m working, they have a magical quality about them. It’s like a break from “real life.” The weather was perfect and we took full advantage of it!

Chad, Colin and Davis finally got to take the kayak out on the lake in front of our house. This is one of their favorite things to do but the weather hasn’t cooperated the last few months.

Then Colin, Miles and I embarked on a turtle hunt while the other two had “Daddy and Davis Time” (which consisted of Davis planting apple seeds in order to grow apple trees— so that we don’t have to buy apples at the grocery story — but instead could just pick them off our tree). He was not deterred when we told him that apple trees don’t grow in Charleston.

The fun didn’t stop there. We really want to get a bike trailer for Miles. I’m not a great bike rider. I can get around fine but I need to refresh my skills before I attempt to pull a baby behind me. So Chad and I went for an awesome bike ride while the kids spent some time with Poppy and Grammie. It was BEAUTIFUL!

When we got back, my in-laws had made us an awesome dinner so I didn’t even have to cook. It was a really spectacular day!

So… Sunday was a great day for a completely different reason. We finally organized and cleaned out our garage. It took seven (yes SEVEN) hours but it is DONE 🙂

Miles had fun in the pack and play while Colin and Davis rode scooters. Habitat for Humanity came by today and picked up everything that we didn’t need. Hurrah!!! It’s a great feeling to have a clean and organized garage!

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Anxious for Nothing

I’m a worrier. I don’t want to be —- but it seems I’m always weighing the worst case scenario in all of my decisions. On vacation, I try to put the boys in the room that’s easiest to get to in case of a fire.  I buy Tylenol before I need it (and restock it as necessary) to make sure it hasn’t been contaminated (like what happened when I was young). I make sure that Miles is breathing before I go to bed. The list is endless…Totally neurotic, I know.

I know all this worrying doesn’t get me anywhere. God knows the number of our days and nothing I can do will change that. If something tragic happened, would I grieve any less by worrying more? Of course not. The Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing. In fact, God tells us to stop our worrying! Why is it so hard for me to turn everything over to Him?

So… I’ve been praying for a peaceful spirit. To enjoy the moment instead of feeling nostalgic. To be at rest instead of anxious. Yesterday I read this verse:

When I said, “My foot is slipping”

Your love, O Lord, supported me.

When anxiety was great within me,

Your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Psalm 94:18-19

I’m grateful for these words and will try to rest in His promises! I just want to enjoy each moment…

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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I can feel it coming…

I can smell it in the air… spring must be right around the corner! After an inexplicably cold winter (don’t laugh, my northern friends!!), the cherry blossoms are blooming, doves are making nests, and I am SO excited.

These little guys are nesting outside our office window. Of course you’ll notice that the photo is so much better than my usual photos since it was taken by Pat Stuckart (our IT guy at my office) with his amazing talent (and amazing camera)!

Colin is so excited about playing golf with Chad again! They haven’t been out on the course together in a while. I have a feeling that they’ll be out there this week, now that the weather is so nice. It’s hard to keep a six-year old engaged for a round of golf but Colin really enjoys the fresh air and time with Dad.

Spring “things” are happening all around. The Charleston Food and Wine Festival was last weekend and all around Daniel Island there is evidence that the Family Circle Cup is close at hand. I don’t know a whole lot about tennis but I love the excitement that the tournament brings to our neighborhood each year.

Yesterday I got to have lunch here on DI with a dear friend at Laura Albert’s Tasteful Options. We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was a welcome break during a busy day!

And, of course Miles got to enjoy the nice weather too!! Spring, I’m so thankful that you’re here 🙂

A Day Trip!

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with all that I’ve had to do lately! After working all weekend, I planned to take Monday off to get some stuff done around the house. BUT… my wonderful in-laws offered to take care of the big boys and instead Chad, Miles and I headed to the Market Common at Myrtle Beach. The weather was beautiful and spring was in the air so we decided to take a road trip up Hwy 17.

The Market Common is a great outdoor shopping area with some fabulous restaurants. It was fun to browse around and sit in the grass by the many fountains. There are really pretty park areas around the Common and it is fantastic place to walk around. We had lunch at PF Chang’s, which was a real treat for me. I’m not a girl who likes chain restaurants but I do wish that we had a PF Chang’s in Charleston!!

It was fun to get away for the day. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the week ahead of me! I’m really lucky that I got to spend a Monday with two of my favorite guys.

Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sunday on Daniel Island

I’m so excited that it has finally warmed up! What a perfect day. Poppy and Grammie took the boys to church this morning and we had a wonderful brunch in the Grill Room at the Daniel Island Club. I hate missing church but am still really apprehensive about putting Miles in the nursery when there are so many sick babies right now. What a blessing that our church posts the service on iTunes so that I can still hear the message 😉

I’m crazy about the fact that it’s the beginning of March and we sat out on the porch and watched the golfers come in on the 18th holes of both the Beresford Creek Course and the Ralston Creek Course. The tide was high and we watched the boats in the creek across the marsh. It was SO relaxing! Just what I needed today. I wish my iPhone took better photos but it’s better than nothing…

Everything looks SO beautiful. The grounds around the island are really coming to life and I feel that spring is finally in the air!

The food was super and Stephanie Tate, one of our favorite servers, took such great care of us. It’s awesome to have a place like this for our family to gather and visit! Sitting on the porch is ideal for the boys. They love the fresh air and watching what’s going on beneath. If Miles hadn’t been hungry, we probably would have stayed and visited with the grandparents for another hour.

So now Colin and Davis are out riding their bikes with Chad & Poppy. Miles is fast asleep. I’m looking forward to the Weather Channel’s prediction of more good weather this week — we’re already making plans to go to the beach!

It doesn’t get much better…this is why I love living in Charleston 🙂

Little Hands and Little Feet

Yesterday evening, I spent a couple of hours in Miles’s nursery — packing up clothes that no longer fit him. It’s something that I’ve been putting off for weeks because it tends to be an emotional thing for me.

As I folded those little outfits, I couldn’t help but wonder where the time goes? How is it that my tiny baby is now 9 months old? I remember so vividly when some of these outfits were HUGE! So I found myself paying particular attention to the little hands and feet that I love so much…

I know that pretty soon I’ll be looking at pictures like the one below and thinking that the “big” boys were once so small. This photo is precious to me because Colin (6) and Davis (5) decided they wanted to have a “fancy” dinner the other evening. They got out candles, little photos of themselves, colorful bowls and grown-up silverware. I had to stop them when they tried to get wine glasses for their milk! Instead they used new “magic” cups that they got from the Kids’ Mission Festival at church. (The cups change color when you put cold milk in them so it got their minds off using my good crystal!) 🙂

I love that they are still small enough where they thought this was a really big deal!

Soon those little hands and little feet will be much larger than mine… stop and think about that for a minute!!

Tour of Daniel Island Homes – Video

My friend Terry Haas (of HGTV’s Designed to Sell) has put together a short video tour of a few DI homes. I think it’s an awesome idea since it gives a great overview of the different choices that Daniel Island has to offer. Terry takes us through homes, town homes, and condominiums in the video. What a fabulous way for someone who has never visited DI to get a taste of what we are all about. Thanks Terry! Great job 🙂

The End of the Day

Today was one of “those” days. Nothing went as planned, I didn’t feel well and I found myself looking forward to the end of the day. I couldn’t wait to get home, have supper, put the kids to bed, and just chill out.

At around 5:45, I was getting ready to leave the office but I had one more phone call to make. I ended up chatting with a client that I haven’t seen in a while and we caught up for a few minutes. As we discussed the weather and when our cold snap would be over, she said something that stopped me in my tracks. She said, ” Well, it’s not great but we can’t spend our time wishing our lives away.”

Wow. How often do I live in anticipation of the next thing? The weekend, vacation, spring, the baby to sleep through the night (which thankfully he’s done for a long time), Christmas… the list is endless. It goes back to what I’ve written about before: being intentional and living in the moment. I don’t want life to pass me by while I’m waiting for the next thing. I want to enjoy the journey itself.

So the boys are asleep, the fire is on and my feet are up. I’m in a much better frame of mind than I was in earlier. Thanks to Karen for putting me back on track 🙂

A Little Independence is a BIG Deal!

A well-kept secret is that the best hot dog on Daniel Island comes from the Halfway House on Rhoden Island Drive. The boys were thrilled when we let them walk up to the window, order hot dogs the way they like them (with ketchup AND mustard), “pay”, and carry them over to River Green park.

Davis was beside himself. He kept saying, “This is a BIG privilege!!” They were jumping with excitement as they tried to get the attention of the girl inside so that they could order through the window.

They decided that they wanted to eat at River Green park because they love racing around the “track” of red stones. They are also infatuated with large machines and trucks and wanted to see what was going on at the house under construction across the street.

While they raced and ran and played and watched the machinery, I just relaxed on a bench and took in the view of the marsh — and the more beautiful view of my little guys 🙂

Morning on the Wando River

There’s something about water in the morning. It glistens and sparkles and takes on a color that is different from any other time of day.

I went out to Mitchell Wharf this morning (without a great attitude since it’s still freezing today) to take some photos for work. As I took photos and tried to keep warm, I found myself rejuvenated and refreshed by the beauty of creation.

If I woke up to this glorious sight every morning, would I take it for granted? I sure hope not. It’s days like this that make me remember that God is an artist.  He is the Author of Beauty. I love the feeling that I get when I observe splendour and know that it isn’t a random thing.

After a bad headache last night, I got every bit of sleep possible and I didn’t have time to do my Bible Study before things got cranking in the morning. I’ve felt two steps behind on everything today and it’s only 9:00!  How amazing that He met me by the river this morning and restored peace in my distracted mind and spirit. I truly needed a clearer perspective this morning and He gave me that. Thank You, Father! 🙂