Friday, July 8, 2016


I do not intend to diminish the feelings of others, and I mean no sarcasm or disrespect against anyone supporting #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter. 
To God, we are all LIFE, created in His image (Genesis 1:27), and to Him, we ALL matter. 
I am a white woman in America and a Christian. I strive to understand the feelings of those who are different from me. Last year, I read Benjamin Watson's book, Under Our Skin and it changed me. I have always wanted to be thoughtful and considerate to others, but when you aren't walking in someone else's shoes, it is impossible to really understand them. This book helped me, just a little to try and walk in the shoes of someone different from me. 
I pray for truth and peace and justice and love to reign in the hearts of all Americans, but I feel that we must come together for this to happen and not separate into various groups. The one thing that can truly being is all together and bring Truth, Peace, Justice and Love is The Word of God. 
His word tells us that the greatest two commandments are, “Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39‬ And His word tells us HOW to do these two things. The book of 1 John goes into detail about loving God and loving our brother. 1 John 5:2 says, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.”
The ONLY way we will see any significant change to the problems of hate and separation in our country is if we all turn to our Holy, Righteous, Merciful and Loving Father in Heaven. We need to start with ourselves and our families and spread the message from there to our friends and neighbors. Please get out your copy of His word and study it and pray to Him for understanding to carry out His will for your life and to help bring change to our nation by drawing us all closer to Him. 
(LIFE filter over image came from

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dreaming of California ~ Driving the Big Sur Coast

No more "California dreamin', California dreamin', On such a winter day". (Can you hear The Mamas and The Papas singing?)

Now, I'm just reminiscing about the two amazingly beautiful trips we've taken to California, this past year.
Today, I have been thinking about driving the famous Highway 1, down the Big Sur coastline. 

Here are some of the highlights that I would recommend:
  • Just south of Carmel is Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, the "crown jewel of the California State Parks system".  There are plenty of hiking trails and numerous views of the Pacific.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

  • Bixby Bridge is 13 miles south of Carmel and is one of the most photographed bridges along the Pacific coast.
Bixby Bridge
  • Pfieffer Beach is a really fun beach area.  It is a little tough to find, so check the website for directions and watch closely for signs.  If you have time, plan to stay a couple of hours to play in the sand and waves.
Pfieffer Beach
  • Nepenthe Restaurant has beautiful views, but it was too pricey to take the kids.  We enjoyed it on our anniversary trip last year.
  • Partington Cove is Josh's favorite spot along this stretch of Highway 1.  It is free to enter and there is a mile long trail that has three branches; one to a stream in the Redwoods, one through a tunnel and one to the beach area.  It has an interesting history, too!
  • Keep your eyes open for California Condors flying overhead through the Big Sur area.  It is one of North America's largest birds.  We were able to spot a few.
California Condors
McWay Falls
  •  Ragged Point is a fun place to stop and explore, stretch your legs and have a snack.
Ragged Point

There are so many places to stop along this scenic drive, that it takes books to list them all.  I just listed a few of my favorites. What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Disneyland ~ Ultimate Park Bag!!!

We just made our first (and already planning a second) family trip to Disneyland in California!  We may never do Disney World again, but more about that later. 

Being the planner and organizer that I am, everyone had a park bag ready to go. I believe that anyone over the age of five is big enough and responsible enough to carry their own things, so each of the girls (8 and 10) had their own backpacks, but little mister (3) got to keep his things in Daddy's backpack.  I carried a backpack purse. 

Our Disneyland trip required each of us to have a light jacket, because the mornings and evenings were chilly, so all of the park bags had enough room to put the jacket in during the warmer part of the day. 

• Water bottle
• Rain Poncho (purchased ahead of time; they are more expensive in the park)
• Snacks (park snacks can get expensive, and snacks make standing in line more fun)
• Sunglasses


• Water bottles (his and little man's)
• Rain ponchos
• Matador picnic blanket (to stake out your parade viewing area)
• Wallet (in front pocket, where tickets and fast passes were kept)
• iPhone

And bonus, this Hikpro backpack folds up nicely to fit into the carry-on suitcase. 


Okay, I know, this doesn't work for those of you who like to travel minimalist style, but for the rest of us, who like to have it all, here's my must have list:

• DSLR Camera in a padded pouch (this is only a must-have for some, I know iPhones are great, too)
• Water bottle
• Rain poncho
• iPhone 
• Sunglasses
• Wet wipes 
• Sunscreen
• Chapstick
• Gum (Disney doesn't sell gum)
• Wallet
• Kleenex
• First aid pouch (Excederin, Advil, childrens ibuprofen and bandaids)

I hope this list is helpful. Let me know what your must-haves are for a Disney day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


I am currently crazy bout SPEARMINT!!! I can't get enough. Every day I am diffusing Spearmint. Alone or with Lavender, or Mandarin and Lavender, or Eucalyptus. I currently have it in three rooms of my house.  I even take a cotton ball with Spearmint in the car! 

Spearmint is both soothing and uplifting.  It is also safer for little ones than Peppermint. 

Some uses for Spearmint Oil:
•To help all members of your household stay calm, focused and uplifted, try diffusing Spearmint, Lavender and Tangerine.
•For a sore neck and shoulders, try rubbing in a mixture of 3 drops of Spearmint and 2 drops of Lavender diluted in 2 tablespoons of Sweet Almond Oil.
•For a headache, try the same oil blend rubbed onto your neck and inhale deeply the oil left on your hands. 

Leave a comment and let me know how you like to use Spearmint. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dreaming of California ~ Carmel-By-The-Sea

Carmel-By-The-Sea is a charming, European-style village, with a Mediterranean climate, overlooking the gorgeous white sands of Carmel Beach.  Everything in town is within walking distance.  There are many fabulous boutiques and delicious restaurants and family owned coffee houses all within the one-square mile downtown area.

A few interesting facts about Carmel-By-The-Sea:

1.  There are no street addresses.
     Locations are "the corner of Ocean Avenue and Mission Street" or "look for the Tuck Box".

2.  No chain restaurants are found within Carmel.

3.  There is a law that bans the wearing of high heels.
     Local police no longer enforce this code that was passed in the 1920's.

4.  Carmel is home to more than 20 "fairytale" cottages that are nearly one hundred years old.

5.  When exploring Carmel, look for the more than 40 unique secret passageways and courtyards.

While there are all kinds of hotel options in Carmel, many luxurious, there are also some very nice, budget friendly places to stay, too.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Comfort Inn Carmel-By-The-Sea.  Every room has a Dutch door that opens onto a beautiful courtyard, and breakfast is served by a cozy fireplace.

I could have wandered the city for days, browsing the quaint boutiques and taking pictures.  I look forward to being able to visit Carmel again one day!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Dreaming of California ~ Carmel Beach

The sight and the sound of the ocean speaks to my soul.

I am reminded of passages in Romans 11:33, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out!" and Romans 1:20, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead".  How can we look at the ocean and not think of the power and majesty of our Lord?

Carmel Beach is where I fell in love with the ocean.  It is the place I go to in my mind to find calm;  I see the waves rolling in and folding over themselves, and hear the rushing and crashing sounds that they make.  I can not wait to experience that again.

With its curved mile of white sand, Pebble Beach to the North and Point Lobos to the South, Carmel Beach is a beautiful beach.  It is a perfect place to jog, fly a kite, build a sand castle or just relax and enjoy the views!
And don't forget to stay for the lovely sunset!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dreaming of California!

On this cold and wet January day, I am warm and happy at home, but I am also thinking of warmer, sunny days in California!

My husband and I have not been avid travelers.  We simply haven't always been able to afford to travel.  Our honeymoon was spent at Toledo Bend Reservoir, because that is all we could afford, and that was a gift from Grandpa and Grandma Stevens!  The next five years were spent just getting by while Josh went to Texas A & M University (Whoop!).  He graduated in December of 2005, started his job in January and our first baby was born on January 10, 2006.  We bought a house and then baby number two came in October 2007.  We were able to squeeze in three snowboarding trips during this time, thanks to the generosity of family and friends, but we did not take our first big trip together until our ten year anniversary in 2010, when we went to New York City.

This past summer marked our fifteenth anniversary and we were able to make another big trip together.  I wanted to see the ocean, and I mean a REAL ocean...Galveston does not count!  Josh wanted to see the big redwood trees and we both wanted to see the Big Sur coastline, so we decided to fly into San Francisco and drive to Carmel and stay a few days.  It was amazing!

We landed at the San Francisco airport, got a rental car and headed into the city for a VERY quick sight seeing tour on our way north to Muir Woods.  We saw Alamo Square Park (seen in the Full House opener), Lombard Street (the "crookedest street in the world") and the Golden Gate Bridge.


We ate lunch north of the Golden Gate Bridge at a Greek Seafood restaurant that was delicious, and then on to Muir Woods to see the biggest trees we have ever seen! (I know that there are bigger, but to us, this was amazing.)  It made us think about what the Cedars of Lebanon must have been like in the days of King Solomon.

From here we turned back south for the drive to Carmel-By-The-Sea.  For those of you unfamiliar with San Francisco, as we were, there is NO HIGHWAY through town.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It's city streets and stop lights all the way through.  This was unexpected, but it did give us a chance to really see the city.
We arrived in Carmel just after sunset.  Our hotel, Comfort Inn Carmel By The Sea, was easy to find and so cute!  Every room has a Dutch door and there is a lovely courtyard.  The breakfast buffet is served by a cozy wood burning fireplace and the owners are very friendly and helpful.

We spent our days exploring beaches and trails, driving the Pebble Beach 17 mile scenic drive and Highway 1 along the Big Sur coastline, enjoying the sights of Carmel and visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf.
Stay tuned for more about Carmel By The Sea!