Vacation tips · Winter

A January Beach Vacation

Vacations have been at a premium for the last couple of years, haven’t they? I’m sure very few people have not had their leisure time changed in some way.

That is certainly true for us! Our December beach vacation and time in Pigeon Forge were all cancelled because my husband was sick. We changed our reservations for our Myrtle Beach trip to January. What? The beach in January? Yes, we figured even if it is cold, it would be warmer than Tennessee! We certainly got that one right!

Snow was forecasted for our area for Sunday – the day we were to leave, so we packed up one day early and left town before the flurries and ice began! Whew!

We traveled on Saturday and woke up Sunday morning in SC where it was cold and rainy, but NOT snowing! We stayed in a hotel one night until our week’s reservations began elsewhere Sunday evening. We enjoyed a nice breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express breakfast room that overlooks the inlet before we headed to church.

We love the church we’ve found here at the beach. The young pastor preaches expositionally through a book of the Bible and we were blessed to hear his message from Galatians 1 about staying true to the Doctrines of the Word of God and not falling into a false Gospel. What a powerful word for the day in which we live! The Gospel is Christ alone – no works, not anything or anyone else added. He is the only way to God. So encouraging to hear that message!

We ate Sunday dinner at Flying Fish – a favorite place of ours. The meal was exceptional and a lovely retreat from the pouring rain outside!

Monday we were happy to see some sunshine, though it was still cold.

Nothing beats an ocean view first thing in the morning! We enjoyed walks on the beach each day, the briskness was invigorating and made me feel a little better about the fried fish we would eat!

I have a husband that really enjoys shopping! We walked through the shops at The Common, where we enjoyed the Southern Living Store, Barnes and Nobles and then lunch at California Pizza. Their Golden Hawaiian Pizza was different and delicious!

There are lots of other good shopping places in Myrtle Beach and this is a great time of year to find good bargains. I found a few little treasures, some gifts, and a picture I needed for a bathroom I’m updating. It was at Hobby Lobby and marked from $19.99 to $4.99. It’s in perfect condition and it’s going to be so pretty in my house!

For meals, our practice is that we eat breakfast in our room, then go out for lunch where we eat our “big meal of the day.” Then in the evening I fix lunch in our room. My breakfast of Avocado Toast (above) on the balcony tasted extra good out in the salty air! By mid-week, our days were perfect temps with plenty of sunshine! How thankful we were!

I loved our beach walks. What’s better than strolling hand-in-hand and talking about life with your best friend?

Some of the other restaurants where we enjoyed our mid-day meals were Taco Mundo and The Shack in Cherry Grove. This little place is filled with local people who come regularly. We enjoyed a platter of delicious fish while we watched neighbors interacting with one another with warmth and camaraderie.

In my opinion, a beach vacation is always a good vacation! Who could ever get tired of watching the ocean roll in or the sun rising and setting over the water each day? Even if it’s from inside, it’s a reminder of the Creator of the universe Who holds the boundaries, keeps the tides rolling in and out, and is deeper than the vastness of its waters. The sunrise tells me that God is continuously at work; faithful to keep the sun rising and setting.
What an awesome vacation!
What an awesome God!

If you have missed out on your vacation, as we did in December, remember that when it does get to happen, it will be all the sweeter! Be patient – it will be worth the wait!

What have you been forced to wait for in recent months?

This post, or this one can encourage you in practical ways if you’re struggling to get through January,

Family life · memories · Refreshment · Vacation tips

The Grace Gift of a Family Vacation

Who doesn’t LOVE going to Pigeon Forge in the Smokey Mountains?! Last weekend we were blessed to gather there for a family vacation. After all the restrictions, I have truly rejoiced each time a planned event actually gets to happen! This time away was our 2020 Christmas gift to our children and their spouses, so we’ve been planning this for many months. What a precious time it was and how full our hearts are after four days and three nights together! This is hard, but I’m just going to share five highlights of the many fun moments we shared.

We opted to have all but one meal in our condo. We divided up the days and mealtimes and each contributed food for that meal. The first night we made it easy and brought pizza in since we had just checked in an hour before. I added a salad to round out the menu. Here is everyone (except my husband who’s taking the picture) at the table. We were a happy clan!

Whitney and I both have September birthdays, so we celebrated with a delicious Lemon-Raspberry Cake from Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, VA. How special to have the whole family there to celebrate with us! That in itself was a precious gift!

For a little added fun, we had a game competition that lasted the whole weekend. That was Whitney’s idea and it turned out to be a great plan! We played Sorry, Dutch Blitz, Spot it, Miniature Golf, Scrabble and Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. That last game is hilarious and great for a crowd!!!

I loved our game time because it kept us connected even at hours when we were really tired. Instead of scrolling on our phones, we were playing games, laughing ourselves silly, and pushing up our competitive sleeves to gain more points on the scoreboard! Whitney kept an ongoing tally of the winner and second place contestant of each game, and then awarded the first and second place champions on Monday morning. Who do you think won???? Keep reading!

it was really great that the condo has a putt-putt course on site. Beside it is a playground, and just up the way was the pool. It was all literally outside our door! Our little guys enjoyed all of those fun activities and the Lord was gracious to give us beautiful days in which to enjoy it all.

We had several special times in God’s Word and prayer as a family. How sweet to gather together to thank the Lord and also leave our burdens and requests. I’m so thankful for a family who loves Jesus. Equally special was seeing individuals open the Bible in their own little space and spend time with the Lord before our day began. Yes, my heart is full.

I’m not boasting and don’t desire to make you envious of our family time. It was truly a gift from the Lord and we praise Him for it. There are heartaches and burdens, needs and concerns in our family, just like in yours. How precious to be reminded even this week that as the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and told him that He saw his tears, our God hears us and sees our tears, too.

Whatever may be grieving your heart today, refresh your spirit by remembering that the Lord cares and is at work in your life. Cry to Him as Hezekiah did, then watch to see how He will comfort you.

I pray your weekend is refreshing as you fellowship with believers and worship our great God!

Oh, wait…the first place winner of our game competition was Alli, and anyone who knows our family will not be surprised at that! Second place was awarded to her equally competitive mother!

What are some ways you keep everyone connected during family times?

Vacation tips

The Top Ten Things I Always Do On My Beach Vacation

beachsunseta

My husband and I returned earlier this week from a two-week vacation! Oh, how blessed we were to spend both of those weeks at the beach.  This time of year is our favorite time to go because

  • It’s not as crowded
  • It’s not as hot

The first part of our vacation was spent at North Myrtle Beach.  We are blessed to be able to enjoy staying at the Wyndham there.  It’s so clean and it’s right on the beach!

I thought I’d share with you today the things I always do when we vacation at the ocean that makes it the best vacation (in my book)!

Continue reading “The Top Ten Things I Always Do On My Beach Vacation”

Traveling · Vacation tips

May I Suggest?

Hello from New England! I’ve had the blessing of being up here since last Wednesday. So instead of sharing a recipe today, I thought I’d share a couple great restaurants that we’ve enjoyed while in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Put these on your bucket list if you’re making a trip east in the future!

We flew into Manchester, New Hampshire, so our host took us to dinner there. We went to a seafood restaurant called, The Puritan. It was packed…on a Wednesday night and quickly found out why! The clam and oyster platter we shared was the BEST we’ve ever had anywhere! I’m not normally a fan of clams, but theirs were really good. The clams were tender and the breading had a slightly sweet taste.

We had the joy of going to the coast of Maine on a beautiful, sunny day. Wow, it was worth the two hour drive just to see the coastal views!

We went to Kennebunkport for the afternoon and evening. With sights like these, we were in awe of our Creator!

We stopped for supper at a cute and very busy place that was right on the Main Street. The Lobster Claw has all kinds of different options to get your craving for lobster satisfied. We shared a plate with stuffed lobster. It was filled with shrimp, scallops, bacon and stuffing. It was delicious!

Lastly, we had the fun of going to Vermont to King Arthur Flour. Loving to bake as I do, I so enjoyed seeing their kitchens, watching a couple demonstrations, and then visiting their store that is filled with all the necessary tools for successful baking.

Of course we had to sample their foods at the cafe and bakery! We shared a sandwich and a couple treats. The Chocolate croissant was my favorite!! Yum! It was also as big as my face!

Did you notice the word “share” in each food description? That means we ate half the amount, which is half the calories and half the guilt! It’s the only way to go!

We both pray about our days – where to go and when to stop. We’ve watched God direct us every day. The Lord is so kind to allow us the blessing of serving Him here and also getting to have a little vacation time. We are abundantly blessed!

We always appreciate good recommendations and I thought you might, too! If you get the chance to visit any of these places I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!

With love from the beautiful east coast,

Denise