Important Lessons

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This is probably one of my favorite local places to hang out at. The beach at Lake Huron. Just a few short miles from my house and I can enjoy the fresh lake air, hear the laughter of children playing and the call of seagulls. It’s a peaceful place for me. Yesterday was Friday, my day off. I had nothing on my agenda that seriously needed to be done. I have spent most of July recovering from pneumonia, so my summer has felt very limited. As the week was coming to an end I prayed that it would be a sunny day as I had decided I was going to go to the beach! It was a little cool in the morning, but the sun started warming things up as the day went on. By noon I had my chair set up and my book ready to go. I think for the first time in a very long time, I went to the beach when I wanted, did what I wanted when I was there, and came home when I felt like it, not someone else’s agenda. I have to tell you, it was a very healing and therapeutic day. I took several walks along the shore, about ankle deep, and of course I had my eye on the rocks…always looking for something good. (I did find 2 Petosky stones, something I never have found at this beach!) When I decided I was ready to go home, I pack stuff up and headed towards the car. I started noticing, my knees didn’t hurt, my back didn’t hurt and the headache that had been lingering for weeks was gone. So a day of rest and relaxation is what it takes to help take the aches and pain away.  Well…it did for a little while.What an important lesson for me! I believe it is a really important lesson. We can’t get rid of every bad thing in our life. We can’t always avoid the aches and pains and sorrows that comes with life. But sometimes……sometimes we need to just step out of the world for awhile and just be.

I hope you can find some time to do this for yourself. I promise it will be worth it!

Have a great weekend!

Julie

 

A Family Friendly, Scenic Vacation

A few weeks ago I posted about my Bucket List Day and I wanted to share some more details of our trip to Amelia Island.  This quaint little island is located on the border of Florida and Georgia about 40 minutes north of Jacksonville on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  The initial draw to this vacation destination was the horseback riding experience, but once we arrived I realized we had discovered a quiet little island gem.

When you arrive on the island, the first thing you notice is the lack of high-rise hotels or condos cluttering the beach.  The shoreline is dotted with lovely little beach houses and cottages.  The hotels and condos tend to be low-rise and do not obstruct the beautiful views. Doesn’t this little place look divine!

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 How cool would it be to live on the corner of Ocean and Dolphin Street!

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Our first night there, we discovered a beach view restaurant called Sliders Seaside Grill.  We dined alfresco and celebrated the Misters birthday!  Notice Little One photo bombing the picture from the slide.  What a concept to provide a playground for the munchkins to let loose in while they wait for their dinner!  Genius!

KyleAfter dinner, we strolled down to the beach and discovered this guy!  Lots of jellyfish and sea life to be found on this beach.

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Next to the horseback riding experience, my favorite thing about this vacation was the spectacular show each morning.  What a blessing to be able to enjoy this gift God gives us each morning!  I woke up early each morning we were there and stole down to the beach to enjoy the sunrise.  Such a stunning, quiet, peaceful way to start the day.

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We had plenty of beach time for shell collecting and exploring.

408One afternoon we explored Fort Clinch State Park.  This is the view as you drive into the park, a tunnel of trees!

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We spent time at the beach building our own fort.

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We lingered a little too long, because we missed touring the fort which closed at 5:00, but we were at least able to get some pictures before they locked the gate.  Pretty impressive!  The fort dates back to 1847 and is 19th century brick fortress begun after the end of the Second Seminole War.

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 If you ever get the opportunity, I would highly recommend visiting Amelia Island. It is a great place to get away with the family to relax and soak up some sunshine and beauty!

~Blessings,

Jen

Crafting Inspiration!

I saw this project several months ago on Pinterest pinned from Crafts Unleashed. I bought all the materials and well, they have sat in my closet for months!! So today I tackled the project “Beach in a Box.” I used my own picture taken from one of my favorite places in the world, Lexington, Michigan. I spend many work breaks walking out on that harbor, so when I look at this box it brings me right back to summer!

Materials Needed:

Wooden Hinged Box

Mod Podge or Decoupage

Dark Brown Craft Paint

Light Grey Craft Paint

Foam Brushes

Miniature Garden Tools, Metal Pail, Flip Flops, Wagon, Bench (anything you want really…you can find these miniatures at Hobby Lobby by the doll house stuff.

Vacation Photo

Sand

Small Screwdriver

Paper Napkins

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I first removed all of the hardware to make it easier to paint. In order to make the box look a little bit more like driftwood I painted the entire box a dark brown color. Before it was completely dry I went over it with light gray. Before that dries take a paper napkin and rub paint off in different spots, especially on the edges where it would naturally be worn away. Let all dry.

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When the box is dry, start on the inside by giving the lid a coat of Mod Podge or decoupage. Make sure your picture has been trimmed to size first.

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Adhere your photo to the lid. Be sure and smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles and allow to dry completely. (I missed this direction and immediately put a coat over the picture and got bubbles….so LET IT DRY FIRST!!

When dry, apply a coat over the top of the photo. Try to get the brushstrokes even. ( Don’t worry, that milky look disappears as it dries.)

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Allow the box to dry completely.

I sealed the rest of the box with decoupage as but this is optional.

Add your sand….as much as you like. I really like playing in the sand, so mine is deep.

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Final step is adding your miniatures, and there you have it!! A Beach in a Box. I plan on taking mine to my office for the times when I just need to relax a little.

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Have fun with this project, find some inspiration and most of all have fun!!

Julie!

 

Bucket List Day!

Do you have a Bucket List?  I have not formally written one, but I have always had a few ideas floating around my head.  Last week, my family traveled to Amelia Island, Florida for Spring Break. (More details on the island to come in another post.)  Amelia Island is one of the few places in the United States where you can horseback ride on the beach.  This particular activity has always been one of my top Bucket List items and I am happy to say I have checked it off my list.  Next to my wedding day and the birth/adoption of my girls, this was one of the happiest days of my life.  I could not stop smiling!

It was a spectacular, sunny, cloudless day with temperatures in the 70’s.  We chose Debbie with Ride The Beaches of Amelia Island and I highly recommend her.  She was friendly and has an obvious love of horses.  The proceeds from the cost of the ride are donated to a horse rescue.

Oldest and Little One enjoyed the ride and even the Mister seemed to have a great time.  Here is a picture collage of our experience:

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So if you love horses and are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, I would highly recommend this!  This whole experience inspired me to sit and write down my Bucket List.  Taking the leap and doing something on my list gave me great joy and a re-newed energy and outlook on my life.  So I started my list and here are my top three:

1.Ride a horse on the beach. (check)

2.Visit Hawaii with my Mom and family.

3. Be a contestant on a game show. (I know this is a weird one, but I love game shows!)

I would love to hear from you in the comments section.  What are your top three Bucket List items?  Maybe I’ll get some good ideas from your list!

~Blessings,

Jen

Beautiful Beach

The weather has finally turned a little warmer here in Michigan and it is great to see people out walking, jogging or biking, even if we are still surrounded by snow!  Oh the life of a Michigander!  I can’t help but dream of warmer days and often find myself thinking of a vacation we took last February to Destin/Okaloosa Island Florida.  The Mister was there on military training for a month and we joined him for a week.

If you have never been to that area of Florida, I would definitely recommend it.  The white, sandy beaches are filled with shells, sea glass, sand dollars and interesting rocks.  It is a beach combers dream and my girls had a blast walking up and down the beach searching for treasures.  We did a Vacation By Owner Rental whicht had a spectacular ocean view and was just a short walk away from the beach.  The sunsets were breathtaking and one evening as Little One and I were walking and searching for treasure, we looked out to the ocean and saw dolphins frolicking in the waves! It was such a peaceful, family-friendly place.

So if you live here in the north and are tired of looking at the dingy, slushy snow, let your eyes rest on one of God’s beautiful creations.  Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip.

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Now wasn’t that a treat for your winter-weary eyes!

~Blessings,

Jen