my dance partner

"No relationship is all sunshine, but once you've learned how to play in the rain, you've discovered the secret to surviving the passing storm together." ~ Unknown

July 17, 1999

Thankful for my dance partner, in both sunshine and rain, of 15 years.  My deepest sorrows have been more bearable, my greatest joys have been sweeter, and the thousands of ordinary moments have been happier for sharing them with you.  I thank God for the gift of you.  Happy anniversary!


a love letter from the kitchen

In May each year as I begin muttering to myself about needing to find 30 pounds of pork loin at a good price and wondering which market will have the best cost on sirloin rump roast, some people begin to think I may be a bit crazy.

Then I confirm my status with the details.  "I'm getting ready to head to a rustic camp to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for about 70 folks for the next five days..."

Oh yeah.  Now that I think about it...that does sound crazy.  

But Carolina Cross Connection is a ministry near and dear to my heart.  I'm too old to serve as a summer staff member and as a mom I can't really take a week to go as a camper.  But cooking during the staff training?  Home cooking is like a love letter from the kitchen.  I found my niche to give back to a ministry that helped shape who I am today.  

It's a big that I haven't taken on completely by myself.  Each of the years I've spent a week in the kitchen at Loy White I've had at least one person working by my side to help me maintain my sanity.  This year my partner in crime was my sister.  I did miss my sweet friend Melissa who has laughed by my side in the kitchen for the past several years, but there was something familiar about cooking side by side with a person who also learned to cook from Mama's example.  

We spent an average of ten hours a day in the kitchen, slicing, chopping, mixing, baking and roasting.  At times the conversation would flow without ceasing and at others there was no sound beyond the steady chop of a knife on the cutting board.  But that's okay, with sisters you don't always have to talk...sometimes "just being" is enough.

This year we also had the pleasure of help from our mini-sous chefs.  My niece, Maylin, and Ky would flit in and out of the kitchen from time to time.  Their biggest contribution to the weekend they spent at camp was baking Grandma's one egg shortcake recipe.  That shortcake is for sure a love letter to the summer staff from the kitchen.

It's exhausting, but I do somehow enjoy my time in the kitchen at Camp Loy White.  The only part that is super duper tough is saying goodbye to my kids at the end of the weekend.

when did my baby boy get so long?
And, with exception of us being separated for a few days, the kids love it too.  They get smothered with attention by a fine group of college students, and they get to spend a few days in a camp setting with their cousins.  This year I have very few pictures to show for our time, but this one from last summer sums up how our boys spend their time...getting dirty.

In the immediate days after I got home, when I was exhausted, my knees hurt from standing so long, and I just didn't feel like cooking a thing, I probably would have told you that 2014 was my last summer.  But now that a little time has passed, I find myself mentally tweaking recipes in my head and wondering how to make them work for a large crowd...


Wordless Wednesday {the couch was kryptonite}

post 2.8 mile hike


Wordless Wednesday {a day to recharge}

memorial day
down and back to our neighbor's place
topsail island, nc


lunch with Hannah

Several weeks ago Ian, the littles and I had a special lunch date.

Natalie for one could hardly believe her eyes when she saw who it was...after all, we did part ways with "our Hannah" in Changsha back in September.

We were blessed to share a meal with three-eighths of the Samuels family!

Just who are these folks?

Well, Hannah spent a crazy week with us as we not so gracefully transitioned from the M6 to the M7.  She helped us find amazing food (I still long to return to our little pink restaurant and have some vegetables), served as a 24 hour translator, and was an insight into a culture that we respect but have yet to understand.  In addition, she was resourceful and thoughtful and was an amazing blessing to our family.  To this day Natalie sees her picture and says, "That my Hannah?  She live in China with me.  I like her!"

And dad and eldest brother ~ Brian and Jeremy ~ of the family...well, they were part of Daniel's story before we were.  They knew him back in the time he was called Jamison, when his color was primarily blue before heart surgery and through his days of physical therapy to catch up on developmental milestones.  As the years have passed, Daniel can't quite seem to place them, but it is clear that he feels a connection on an instinctual level.

jeremy is the pied piper with kids!

This is a family (along with the other five members, an amazing mom, another cool brother and three sweet spirited younger sisters) that is near and dear to our hearts.  We're pretty sure that these are folks we'd love to be in community with on a regular basis.  There's just the issue of an ocean between us...

Anyway, Hannah and Jeremy are both in the states to take some classes for a season, and Brian came over with his oldest kids to help them get settled into their digs with friends.  During a brief time in NC to visit family, they managed to squeeze us in for a lunch date.  We were honored indeed.

We laughed and chatted and reconnected.  All too soon though they needed to get back on the road to help prepare for a big family dinner.

you really have to go now?

But we sure enjoyed our little piece of time with some amazing folks.  We got the scoop on the latest of what's going on up in their corner of the world.  It's exciting stuff y'all!  We'll be following their work at New Day North and if you like to see miracles happening in the lives of beautiful orphaned children, I suggest you do too!

Real time 5/07/14...better late than never, right?


who let the dogs out?

Time.  It is just flying these days.  Here we are the middle of July and pictures of Caleb's opening weekend in soccer are still waiting to see the light of day...

While Daniel was ecstatic over the beginning of the season, to our big boy it was a bit "old hat."  Sure, he was glad to be back with some of his soccer buddies ~ our league keeps kids together from one season to the next if possible so that team relationships can build...these boys and a few others could be our soccer family for the next ten years if we all continue to play through the league ~ but he wasn't as jazzed up about the first game as Daniel was.

Even so, he played aggressively that day and had a good game.

One bit of natural talent our boy was gifted is energy.

I seriously don't know where he gets it sometimes.  He may not always be the fastest, or even the most talented on the field.

But 9 times out of 10, he's got energy to run circles around anyone.  And in a fast paced game like soccer, energy is pretty important.

Caleb also attended futsal clinic on Friday nights this spring.  The skills he picked up there combined with his desire to kick a ball around the block instead of riding his bike when we took family walks showed up as the season went on.

Caleb shifted from being a high energy kid on the team to a valuable player.

His love of the game was contagious enough that we decided travel out of town with the team at the end of the season to attend the Powerade State Games.  The heat was almost unbearable, and they played two games a day just one hour apart over the weekend, but managed to come up with the bronze medal for their age bracket.

just before they received their medals...accidentally did video of the medal shot instead of a still shot.

The time has come to put shin guards and cleats back into the closet to wait for the next season, but it's good to know that our soccer family will be back when it's time to start kicking a ball again!