dinner time

when life gets busy and schedules are all over the place, there's one hour in my day that i protect fiercely. when life's business tries to threaten this time, i fight for dinner. 

thankfully it's not about the food or fancy place settings, we are far from perfection in that category.  i cherish this time because of the conversation, the laughter, the things we learn,  the being together
 i occasionally lose the battle and dinner is a mismatched, haphazard attempt with a traveling husband and my appointments that run late. some nights waiting on everyone means eating as late as 8pm. thanks to memories made around the table, i won’t give in to this battle.


wednesday night mary claire and i were riding home from church. just the two of us. it's wild how cars and conversation go so well together. for the first few minutes, mary claire was awfully quiet.   this was the first sentence out of her mouth. 

"we go to the bathroom in clean water."

could this be a parenting moment when you see a click?! it was one of those moments. her wheels had been turning, things were clicking. she was mentally chewing on the fact that people could actually drink toilet water because it's so clean! earlier she had seen pictures from a missionary in india. and yes, compared to their drinking water... u.s. toilet water would be a luxury there. for the countless times i thought she wasn't paying attention... as i reminded her of the privileges we take for granted. today i am thankful for toilet water and making a click.

anna katherine and i just returned from a weekend focused specifically on missions. 

we really lucked up with our accommodations!  jeff was working a conference a few miles away. the timing was perfect! thanks to jeff's company calendar, anna katherine got to experience a five star hotel. jeff and i savored every single minute with this sweet young lady. (i am not allowing myself to think "this time next year" thoughts)

another friend from our church joined us. making the experience sweet x2.
 the ladies from our church poured into these girls over the weekend. the girls had been warned that this was not a play games, go shopping, open your bible once conference:)  it was a women's/grownups conference where you would learn grown up things... imagine where their minds went when i said that ;) 
the first day was filled with words of wisdom and ways to share your faith everyday. how to look for opportunities and people placed in your path.  the second day was more training and site assignments... 

the plan was to GO... out into charleston and practice what we had learned. (striking up conversations with perfect strangers, quickly bridging the conversation to faith and eventually salvation through Jesus.)

when we were selecting partners for the day, i quickly spoke up and put dibs on maureen. i wanted them to have "the hard teacher." i knew they would thank me in the end.  she poured, and i mean poured, into these girls.
i was beaming, knowing what she was about to experience.

i was blessed beyond measure to be paired with these two ladies. betsy is one of the most encouraging women at our church. audrey is a full time missionary in brussels. she is stateside until january. again, i placed dibs on these ladies quickly :) God put each group together in an amazing way! 
a few hours later we met back at the church. just as i expected, the girls were giddy with excitement!  eager to share about their day.
 with help from their fearless teacher, they initiated conversation, bridged to God things and ended up sharing and praying with perfect strangers! 

 this story and this family will remain in anna katherine's heart forever. i want her to write about how God led them out of their "zoned area" to meet this family.. it was the perfect situation to illustrate a divine appointment!

anna katherine talked and talked and talked all the way home about her day. the connections you feel with people when you let God btake charge. the girls are determined to visit their new friends again.

all during our two hour drive home, i was so grateful for this weekend! i am grateful for so many special ladies who loved on our girls! 

stair climb

we got a surprise visit from bennett! that sweet boy, he really misses his wonderful mother girlfriend. but that's okay because we miss seeing elizabeth too! it's always good to have that strong tornado personality home. 

his clemson fire department job has given him a strong appreciation for first responders. the stories he tells.  this weekend bennett was full of september 11 questions .... where were we? our thoughts that day? details, details, details! besides being mortified and glued to the television,  our answers were not as dramatic as he was expecting.

he called a "family movie night." we watched the new 9-11 documentary on the history channel. (this was bennett's third time) this documentary opened up a can of good, solid conversation.

sunday afternoon bennett returned to clemson for the 9-11 memorial stair climb. 110 flights of stairs in fire gear. (when he finished... he threw up)  

enjoy nc apples

we tried our best to ignore the scorching heat and pretend fall was in the air.  our long labor day weekend was made a little longer thanks to a storm day on friday. we headed to my mom's house in the mountains and it just happened to be the north carolina apple festival.
 i only took my camera out at the festival. missing the hilarious four hour trip down the river. my mother had a new kayak she was dying to try out. plus she had bought a HUGE raft. a raft that could fit 12 people comfortably ;) seriously i could lay down horizontally and almost fit. imagine anna katherine, mary claire and myself on what looked like a floating king sized mattress. papa gene, honey and chase were in kayaks. the river was so busy! like really, really busy. our king sized mattress float plowed down the river  separating the sea of people on inter tubes and floats.
 we didn't take a single picture, but we made a pile of memories! we laughed until we cried.
 the rest of the weekend was walks, book reading, golf cart rides and food good enough to award myself with a three day diet!
 we were able to taste several types of apples. (fried, frozen, candied, fresh...) we decided honey crisp and pink lady is our favorite.

 the best money spent...

anna katherine and chance had a caricature made. a caricature FAIL! i was proud to see theses two kindly thank the man for this unrealistic and disastrous picture.

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