friends and family look the same

In honor of “What Have We Learned This Summer” I am linking up with Emily P. Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky to talk about the things I’ve learned over the last two months. It can be as serious or silly as I intend for it to be.

Are you ready?

1) Vacation is a necessary thing to do once in awhile. No really, it is.  I can’t afford to do it all the time, but making it a priority to lose myself for days on end outside the confines of my own home is truly a need for this introvert. I cannot begin to explain how God moved my heart over the past week when I was away from home to enjoy the beach with my family. I have so much to process that I’m sure the next few months will be an outpouring of mini what-I’ve-learned(s) to share in my online space. Stay tuned…

2) Keeping up a facade is ridiculously impossible. Be who you are and embrace it. Insecurities and all. And people, I have some serious insecurities. God’s been working on me for the last several years and this year has taken the taco. Through my persistence to pray and His promise to deliver I am slowly starting to loosen my grip on the lies the devil’s fed me all my life. It’s exhilarating and exciting, yet makes me want to lose my lunch all at the same time. Sometimes it’s easier to stay in the comfort zone, but I’m learning…  slowly.  surely.  with prayer for reassurance and an airsickness bag at my side just in case.   😎

3) Not everyone shares my opinion.  Imagine that.  And when I say this I mean it for a plethora of reasons. Not every parent out there will agree with me on how to raise children. Nor will they appreciate the differences in my personality. Come to think of it – they don’t seem to share my relentless love for pork skins and corn nuts, either. (They are a staple for long car rides, people.  You might want to consider this one and get on board).  Just don’t break a tooth!

4) My children are all kinds of stinkin’ persistent.  And just to prove my point – it is possible for my son to squeeze the words “Dauphin Island” into about 300 different sentences during the span of a 14 hour drive despite my pleas to make him stop.  I. Kid. You. Not.

5) I absolutely love music. I did not learn this this summer – but it won’t stop me from sharing one of my favorite songs to listen to while writing.  I have been so completely smitten’ with “Song of the Caged Bird” by Lindsey Stirling.  Love, love, love!  While it’s not a new song, I’ve only been listening to it for the last, ooooh, 10 months or so.  Check it out if you haven’t – especially if you adore bass and violin and beautiful tunes of complete soothingness…  That sounded a lot better in my head before I typed it but I’m moving on.

6) I learned from a friend that there is “no one like me.” That I “stand alone” and that she “loves that about me.”  I know, right?  I can’t get over how amazing it is to hear a boost of confidence from someone I admire.  So easily I see my faults and flaws and I tend to forget…   I forget that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  The enemy would love for me to embrace the lie and beat myself up.  And as often as I go to the Word, sometimes I stumble on the “wish I was more like…”  or the “why can’t I look like…”  or maybe “her writing is so much better than mine…”  And then, out of nowhere swoops in beautiful friend who hurls encouragement down on me like a cool rain on a hot desert floor.  And then I look like a geek because I can’t stop smiling.   😉

But this is a great segue into my next topic…

7) Working so hard to be loved and admired can become our idol.  Reading Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book, Love Idol, is a fresh wake-up call for me.  I began this journey of being comfortable in my own skin and not working for the approval of others with Holley Gerth’s book, You’re Already Amazing, and now I am grateful to have found Jennifer’s book to compliment Holley’s encouragement.  These two women are incredibly gifted writers that will speak truth into your life through Godly wisdom like no other.

8) Izze drinks save me from binging on Dr. Pepper   Yes, I love soda.  But with all of the craziness that is the new lifestyle change to correct my autoimmune issues I’ve decided to give it up.  However, when you’ve been addicted to something for so long and you just NEED carbonation these absolutely wonderful bottles of sparkling water and fruit juice are a delightful substitute.  Thank me later.

9) I really dislike titles. Whenever I have to title one of my posts it can literally be the most agonizing part of blogging.  That and being happy with a picture.  Ok, that and trying to market the silly thing on social media.  And now that I’m on that subject, good grief – I sometimes feel like I’m being eaten alive by social media.  How do some of you women do this effectively without going completely insane?

…or perhaps insanity is, in fact, the answer?  Come back next month for What I Learned in August to find out the verdict.

And the most important thing I learned this summer as I’ve been surrounded by so many wonderful people…

10) Friends and family look the same.  I’m an only child and I come from a relatively small and spread out family.  We never gathered together a lot when I was young, but when we did I loved it.  The chaos of it all made me happy.  And I’m a girl who likes the stillness of things. I like to recharge by myself and I don’t feed off of the energy of other people.  But I learned that, on this vacation, my chaos limit is MUCH higher than originally anticipated.  Vacationing with 3 other families and a total of 13 children in one house taught me this.  And the line between “friendship” and “family” becomes muddled.  Because it’s not really there.  We might not be related through our own blood, but through Christ’s blood we are all heirs to the same gift of salvation.  We are all working toward the same goals of raising our families to have a heart for God and a love for mankind.  And despite our differences in opinion, those aforementioned personality quirks and our lack of respect toward pork skin eating…  I think learning that is the best lesson of all.


Here are a few clips of our summer…

My blessings!

The best memories are of this view right here

All my loves (and me) 😉

Trip to Fort Gaines


Buddies in pjs on the beach

Exploring with friends

Our home for a week

Brother and sister love at the beach

Mulberry picking

Visiting Duck Commander

Sand-crabbin' at night

Boys and their fishing trip

Time with Miss Sweetness by the ocean

Welcome to vacation

Stepping into the ocean for the first time


Playing with friends

Six Flags with friends

Learning to slide

Sibling fun

Strengthening friendships

Hanging out with buddies

Spending time together

Church camp


Playing outside


Being silly

Making tie-dye