Thursday Doors – Keys to the Past

There are things known

And things unknown

And in between are the doors.  -Jim Morrison

It’s been a crazy week.  Big surprise in the life of a mom.  I’m still trying to catch up to daily life.  That’s why this week my Thursday Door is on a Friday (to be fair Norm 2.0’s challenge is open until Saturday at noon.  You can pop over and click the blue link to see lots of other amazing doors.)  And who my quote is attributed to is in question.  Did Jim Morrison say it, did Ray Manzarek (also of The Doors) say it, was it written by a publicist, was it influenced by William Blake or Aldous Huxley?!

So many questions.

I always have a lot of questions.  I’m extremely curious by nature.  If I’m interested in a topic, I will check out every book that I can at the library on the subject.  With so much information at my fingertips through my computer, I can delve deeply into a subject.  And that is where I have been.

Let me back up a little.  Last week so many exciting things happened.  We needed a four-wheel drive before winter and I finally found the jeep that I’d been wanting.  The next day the oldest started his first job.  And the day after that my middle child had his birthday.  School started this Wednesday, so a lot of last week after that was rushing around finishing school supplies, getting haircuts, etc.  My daughter had a local soccer tournament over the weekend.  We got there bright and early for day 2 of games and I checked my emails.  And there was the one I’d been waiting to see.

My DNA test was finished.

My husband and I had both taken the DNA test through because we were curious about our ethnicity.  I wasn’t overly surprised by my results because my mother had already taken the test.  I found out that my estimates are 79% Great Britain (I found it interesting that a typical native there has an estimate of 60%), 10% Ireland, 5% Scandinavia and there were some remaining trace regions.

What I didn’t expect to find so fascinating was that I shared DNA with 430 4th cousin or closer relatives who have also taken the DNA test.  I started looking through them to  figure out how we are related. I have always been a math and science girl and didn’t really care for history and geography, so it came as a big surprise to me that I have found myself completely taken with the investigation process.

Not long ago I skimmed read a book by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi called Flow:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience.  Being “in flow” or “in the zone” is explained as a mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.  The concept is about being fully immersed in what you are doing.  A state of complete absorption.  That is what this research has been like for me.  I still haven’t connected many dots, but each day I find something new and exciting.

What about you?  Have you ever been completely engrossed in a project?  Or ended up fascinated by something that you thought you didn’t care about at all?

Let your light shine!






Thursday Doors – St. Philips

This week my Thursday Doors, once again, come from our day trip over to Southport, NC.

This church caught my eye as we drove in to Southport.  We were looking for the visitor center so I figured I’d capture a photo of it later.  If you’ll recall, I mentioned in my other Southport door post that the day was sweltering hot.

We had taken the 8:30 A.M. ferry from Ft. Fisher to Southport and as the day got progressively hotter, we were aiming to catch the 2:30 returning ferry.  We ended up wanting to visit a surf shop that we passed, so we figured we’d catch the 3:15.  We had a little time to spare after, and it was on the way,so I wanted to drive past the house that was used for Alex’s home in the movie Safe Haven (there is a pamphlet listing major filming locations).  The GPS wanted us to go down a one way street, which obviously wouldn’t work.  We figured it out and drove past the house.  The owner (or somebody) was on the front porch reading so I didn’t take a photo.  The GPS debacle had us pressed for time so I would not be able to photograph the church.

We got to the ferry and there was a large flashing sign “The 3:15 ferry is full”.  This felt quite stressful because that means there was only a 4:00, 4:45, and 6:15 ferry trip left for the day.  It was now 3:00.

We went back for me to photograph the church, but I also knew that it had to be done quickly because we didn’t want a repeat of the earlier scenario.

The Chapel of the Cross is at St. Philips Episcopal Church.  According to the history at the church website, it was erected in 1843.  In 1865, after the evacuation of Ft. Johnston by the Confederate forces, the Union seized it and used it as a hospital for their wounded.  It was later used as a school for African-American children.  In 1876, the church began to grow again.

The Chapel of the Cross is open for visitation, prayer, and meditation.  I was so disappointed that I did not have time to enter.  I would have loved to have seen the inside and felt the richness of its history as I had some moments of quiet.


In 2004, St Philips built a new church across from the Chapel.  It was the building housing the bell tower that I had heard chiming.  Red doors always intrigue me.  I snapped a quick photograph and began the quick return to our vehicle.

And that was when I saw this….


A labyrinth.

I have been wanting to walk a labyrinth since I began my journey (pressing outside my comfort zones) at the beginning of this year.  Time was not on my side that day.  So I did place my feet upon its stones, just to feel the magnitude of stumbling across it.  And then I scurried to our van, which you can see patiently waiting for me in the upper right.

And we made the 4:00 ferry!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my little excursion.  Thursday Doors is hosted by Norm 2.0.  You can pop over and click on the blue link to see lots of other amazing doors from around the world.


Let your light shine!



The Second Blessing

Portrait -On the beach – July 2016

Making the decision to have a child-it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. – Elizabeth Stone

This morning I saw this quote posted on a friends’ Facebook page.  I felt its truth in a hundred different ways.

Today it struck me deeply because 15 years ago I gave birth to child #2.  Slightly less than 18 months after the birth of my first son, God graced me with another little boy.  Since he is not publicly on social media and prefers his privacy,  there is not much I can share except that I think that he is amazing.  Yes, I’m biased.  But that’s okay.  Everybody needs a cheerleader in their corner and I will always champion my children.

You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons.  And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.  ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

I laugh and tell everyone that he named himself.  He does not believe this.  But I picked the name Reed, which it turns out means “red-haired”.  My husband didn’t want to pick this name because he might not be a redhead (our first son was a complete towhead for his first 6+ years).  We didn’t choose this name, but ended up with a name from a similar heritage that had never entered my mind prior to choosing it.  I say he picked it.  But…guess what?!

Creative photography captured by his older brother

He is a redhead!  

He got his dad’s green eyes (and supposedly his IQ. However, I like to claim that one!)  He is so many things.  Intelligent….adventuresome…. and one of the precious lives that I have been lucky enough to see changing and growing daily.

You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, Smarter than you think, And loved more than you’ll ever know. -A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh


My loves on our ferry ride to Southport – July 2016

I still can’t believe that 15 years have flown by.

Some days it seems like I blinked and here we are.

From nightly dances with legs around my hip to me looking skyward just to be able to see your smile.

From waking up to my bed filled by you and your siblings to awaking you from deep slumber at noon.

From a time that I thought would never end to the days looming on the horizon when you will spring from my nest and I will hope that we have given you all the necessary skills to be successful in that journey.

Someday when the pages of my life end, I know that you will be one of its most beautiful chapters- Unknown


With his best friend over spring break 2016

Little boys should never be sent to bed.  They always wake up a day older. -Peter Pan

Today, a day older.  Today, a day closer to a man.

My mother’s heart is overwhelmed.  Always my children.  Always my loves.  But always growing closer to the day when they will venture out on their own.

….and she loved the little boy very, very much- even more than she loved herself. -Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

That’s what this is about though.  This circle of life.

Loving them.  Growing them.  Sending them.

DSC_0352 - Copy
Fun – One of his favorite things to do- Winter 2015-2016

I’ll love you forever

I’ll like you for always

As long as I’m living

My baby you’ll be. – Robert Munsch, Love You Forever


Let your light shine!







See the Light

Instead of my normal Wordless Wednesday photo, I’m going a little wordier.

A little more Wednesday Wisdom. 

Mostly because I’m hoping for some feedback. I enjoy putting quotes on my photos that I then typically post on my various social media accounts. I’m curious if any of you have an app that you use for this purpose that you absolutely love.

The one above was created on Wordswag and is a photo taken with my Iphone 5S. The app has many great fonts, but I’m also seeking  a modern calligraphy font.

Some of you may use a program on your computer. I’d love to hear about those also. I’m babying my laptop along while I ponder what I need for its replacement.

I am still very much a novice at all this:

Blogging, photography, editing said photography, figuring out what the best approach is if I want to print it out for my wall instead of a thumbnail on social media, will my entry-level DSLR do all that I want it to, and so on.

So if you have any apps, programs, tips, or general knowledge that you’d like to add in the comments – know that they are GREATLY appreciated!

You can also find me here:





Hope your day is awesome!

Let your light shine!







Mornings At The Ocean

I am not a morning person.

Let’s just start with that.  But something changes when I’m at the beach.  I don’t know if it’s because my time there is limited and I want to soak it all in.  Or if it’s because the light angles in through the windows just right to wake me up.  I do know that when the sky begins its early morning glow, I wake up.

And I have a choice to make.

Toss and turn in the cozy bed.  Or watch the world come awake.

I opt to watch the world come awake.  Not in the place where we are staying.  Everyone there is still sleeping soundly.  Teenagers….husband….all still dreaming.

One of our favorite beaches since moving to Virginia is Carolina Beach, North Carolina.  The way the waves break offers surfing (my  family surfs small waves-I surf the itty bitty ones) and riding boogie boards (my personal favorite).  It has a boardwalk.  The town offers music, movies, fireworks, and more on different nights over the summer.  There is a skate park.  The people are friendly.  We’ve been a handful of times now and I try to rent a beachfront condo. I am not one of those people who plans a year in advance (or 6 months…probably not even 3 months) so we usually have limited options. But I did find one that we rented for a week this summer.


Each morning I crawl out of bed and I walk down to the shore.  Pre-coffee (gasp!)!!

I feel the sand between my toes.  It’s soft, and my feet sink down as I walk.  I breathe in the air and can sometimes taste the salt on my lips.  The breeze is just enough to keep you cool, blowing my hair away from my neck.  I walk to where the sand becomes compact, hardened by the water that earlier had hidden its existence.  I look for seashells as I stroll along the water’s edge.  If I’m extra lucky, I may find a piece of sea glass which has had its jagged sides made smooth by the tossing and turning of its time in the ocean.

I feel like these are treasures left just for me to find as I walk and talk with God.  I pause to watch the sun begin to peer over the horizon. I let the water roll over my toes.  It races in and rolls back into the depths. The water stretches farther than the eye can see.  I know that it has end.  But it feels infinite.

On this morning, I roll the sea glass around my fingertips.  I think about the tossing and turning and fighting of the waves that have crashed into my life over the years.  How they have molded me.  How they have worn down the rough edges.  How they have made me a seeker of peace and contentment.

I smile at the dawning of a new day.  A chance to make better choices than the day before.  A chance to smile more and frown less.  A chance for laughter instead of tears.   I breathe it in and let it permeate my entire being.

And morning begins.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11


Let your light shine!




Thursday Doors – Captain Newton’s Inn

Last week we had an amazing time filled with relaxation down in Carolina Beach, NC. One of the excursions that I’ve been wanting to take is the ferry ride from Ft. Fisher over to Southport.

We were also checking out Oak Island, so it was more of a scouting excursion to see what places we might like to visit again in the future.

Southport is located on the Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway along the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s nestled amongst the salt marshes, which my husband and I happen to love. It was originally incorporated in 1792 and named Smithville and changed its name to Southport in 1887.  It has a beautiful  historic district and lots of large live oak trees.  There have been many movies, documentaries, and tv series that have been filmed here.

A few that you may recognize which were listed in the brochure that I picked up are:

Dawson’s Creek


I Know What You Did Last Summer

A Walk To Remember

The Secret Life of Bees

And most recently: Safe Haven.


We didn’t have time for me to walk around and see all the homes.  Keeping three teens entertained and hydrated in sweltering (and I mean oppressively hot!) heat was not an easy feat.  We did walk along some of the historic area under the shade of the oak trees.  I was taking photos of the beautiful historic homes along the way when my husband pointed out that this one was a bed and breakfast.

The historic plaque states that the home was settled in 1886.  I read on the Inn’s website that it was one of the original 100 lots laid out by the city founders.  It was built by Captain Walker Newton, who was a renowned river pilot of the time.

I imagine over the 130 years of sweltering summers that there have been many sweet teas sipped and stories swapped while sitting in the shade of that front porch.

I later learned that there was a Marsh Walk where we could have walked along a boardwalk right through a salt marsh.  We will definitely be visiting Southport again in our future beach trips.

This is part of Thursday Doors, hosted each week by Norm 2.0.  You can see more doors here.



Let your light shine!