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,

Depression · Refreshment · Winter

Ten Ways To Refresh a Dreary Winter Day

Did you know that “January Funk” is really a thing people deal with? “Funk” is a state of depression. It can be very mild, with just a feeling of the blah’s. It can feel like a gray day has settled in your heart.

I am a lover of warm, sunny days, so wintertime can often feel dreary to me. However, I have a list of ten things that really do bring the sunshine in and lift the winter weariness!

  1. Bible Reading – Shortly after rising, I love to get my coffee, a comfy chair and a lovely view, and start the day with my open Bible and my journal! It gives me something to meditate on all day long! Even though my Chronological reading plan has me in Job right now (not exactly a lifter-upper Book) I am seeing so many wonderful character traits of my awesome God! That’s what I’m meditating on each day!
  2. Light – I let in as much natural light as the temperatures allow. Curtains open, blinds up and when it warms a bit, the front door is swung open! I also have lamps on throughout the house to brighten up dark corners.

3. Plants – Flowers and plants also help to brighten my heart. Sometimes I cut greens from my yard. Sometimes I pick up flowers at the grocery store. I also still love my Wick plants! They are thriving beautifully!

4. Candles – I usually ALWAYS have a candle burning. Right now you can find great deals on candles, so stock up! This three-wick candle smells amazing and cost me $6. It adds light, aroma and warmth to the room!

5. Media. We have an Alexa in three rooms of our home. I have it playing my “Favorites” and I love the variety I hear! I also listen to several podcasts each day. At lunchtime my husband and I also usually always watch Andy Griffith. You just can’t be gloomy when you watch Barney’s antics!

6. Hobbies – It’s no secret that I love to bake. I’ll bake for company coming, or for a friend in need, a neighbor, or even put things in the freezer for later use. I never regret having something baked and stored away! I also work on my watercolor painting hobby, sewing, or scrapbooking. It’s fun to get creative!

7. Productivity – Getting up and getting things done is helpful in improving my outlook. If I get supper in the crockpot early in the day, pop in a load of laundry, work on a radio broadcast, or write a card to stick in the mail, I get energized! It’s great to get things accomplished and even work ahead!

8. Exercise – It was 22 degrees most mornings this week, but also sunny and I decided it was perfect for a walk! I bundled up three days in a row and walked 2.25 miles while I talked to the Lord. It felt good to exercise, talk to the Lord, and get some fresh air!

9. Fellowship = Our small groups are reconvening this week and I think we’re ALL excited about it! Those pies you saw were made for our small group. I usually make something pretty simple, but wanted to kind of celebrate getting back together after a long holiday break. The fellowship with others is so important in encouraging your heart! This is one reason why the Lord wants us to meet together as a Church Body. We need the fellowship and the encouragement, the worship, the corporate prayer and the building up of one another!

10. Ministry to others – It’s easy to get so focused on our own dreariness that we fail to see that others outside our home might need some encouragement, too. Ask the Lord to show you who needs you to reach out to them, and then recognize what their needs might be. As Proverbs 11:25 says, Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Friends, God cares about your burdens. He created you and He created the seasons. Talk to Him if you’re feeling down. Ask Him to help you have a right perspective about your season, your surroundings and your sadness.

I hope you’ll add one or more of these ten suggestions and watch your heart be encouraged…even in winter!

What do you do to encourage your heart in a funk? Share it in the comments.

Bible study · cat · Winter

Weekly Highlights

Highlights are defined as “An outstanding part of an event or time.” A look at my photos from this past week are full of sweet blessings – highlights. I’m sharing them, not to pretend there weren’t also low times, but to thank and acknowledge the Lord for His goodness and mercies! He is a loving God! Here are a handful.

Of course, being a cat lover, I have many photos of Liza Jane. She’s the sweetest kitty. I’m enjoying her older years. She’s lovable, cuddly and loves her cozy napping spots!

There’s another peek at Liza in a napping basket!

I had the blessing of spending a few days with my parents in Kentucky.

We celebrated our Christmas together, complete with gifts AND even a delicious Christmas dinner. Is there anything like eating at your mom’s table?! Sunday evening we ended the day with “Christmas Tea.” So yummy and so delicious!

My daughter Alli and I got to go to lunch – just the two of us! We went to the downtown of the city where I live and enjoyed lunch, heart to heart conversation and then some fun shopping! I treasure those times!

I’ve started another read through the Bible in 2022. I’m using the chronological plan, and also The Bible Recap with Tara Leigh Cobble. Her recap is like a mini commentary on each day’s reading. It’s been so helpful!

It’s been a blessed first week of 2022! How has your year started? What are some of your highlights? Also, I’m curious, have you begun a Bible reading plan?

Enjoy and bless God for His good gifts,

refreshing others · refreshment at home · Winter

Perk Up An Afternoon With Winter Tea

Rather than sharing a recipe today, I’m sharing an idea using food that might perk up your lingering winter months! February can be snowy and cold, so perhaps having a fun event in the afternoon will make it a little more enjoyable!

Last month I spent a good part of one week with my parents in Kentucky. I always love being with them in their home. It’s cozy, inviting, has sunny rooms and comfy places to sit. I was there to help out while my poor mom was dealing with Sciatic nerve pain. I had the fun of cooking and helping with some of the household chores while she rested. My dad does a great job of keeping the house cleaned up, so there wasn’t a whole lot to do when my mealtime work was ended.

But as many older couples have experienced since March, they’ve had few outings, for safety sake. Life can get very routine and drab in the wintertime, and especially so when someone is not well, so I thought it would be fun to do “Winter Tea” one afternoon. I’ve enjoyed that treat many times when I’ve visited them in the past, and I knew it would be something they would enjoy.

I didn’t do a full-fledged tea with cookies, cheese and all the sandwiches – I opted for just dessert. My sister had made a delicious sponge-like cake with raspberry filling for my dad’s Christmas Eve birthday and my mom had popped the leftovers in the freezer. It was perfect. Not only was it good, it also looked really pretty on the Country Roses dishes!

I set the table with the Country Roses dishes, got the hot water in the tea pot and put out flavored teas bags. Then I went to Amazon music and found a playlist of piano songs for an afternoon tea. It added a nice atmosphere for our “event.”

We had such a good time sipping tea, enjoying the cake and ice cream and just lingering at the table chatting. It was a fun way to spend an hour together.

Children would also enjoy a tea! You could use dishes that were a little less fragile, perhaps, but still make it special, pretty and delicious. It takes a little effort, but you could make a fun memory for a child, a group of friends…or your parents.

Why not refresh an afternoon with a lovely cup of tea and cake?

Refreshment · The Scenic Route · Winter

Beating the Winter Blues

The winter blues are a real thing and I find it crucial in the middle of these winter months to make special effort to stay encouraged. Simple pleasures can go a long way in perking up my dreary spirits. Here’s a sampling of some of my recent winter day activities that helped beat the blues.

The best way to defeat being down is to have my heart lifted up through the Truths of God’s Word. This year I’m reading through the Bible using a chronological plan. Already I’ve seen new truths, been comforted about God’s care and presence, and have been reminded that God always has a plan for every person in every situation. That means right now in 2021, during a pandemic, on a dreary winter day, He is at work!

My husband and I played a round of Rummikub on Sunday evening. It was a cold night, so we set up a small table in front of the fireplace and enjoyed the warmth of the fire while we played. It was warm, it was fun, and we had time together!

We had a sunny day this week and I was determined to make the most of it. This was my radio recording day, so I headed out early so I could get my Jeep washed and also do a little shopping beforehand. It was a needed morning out!

I’ve been working on redoing our family room since September and the last piece of furniture I need for that room is a love seat. I’ve been looking for months and just couldn’t find what I wanted. We took a drive to Greeneville, TN to Robert’s Furniture Store and I found this lovely piece that is going to be perfect in my newly decorated space! It will be delivered later this week and I can’t wait. I am going to paint a wall, then I’ll be anxious to make a reveal here on my blog!
If you’re in East Tennessee, you need to visit Robert’s. It’s a locally owned business with the sweetest people and quality furniture. I can’t say enough about our experience with them!

Doing what we love, my husband and I took the scenic route through the country to go to the furniture store. The views are so pretty and the drive just made my heart smile! The sky on the way home was gorgeous…

I also spent some time in the kitchen this week. I’ve made several new recipes for supper, baked some bread, made more Rice Krispy Treats (for our small group) and also some Chicken broth in my crock pot. It feels good to be productive in the kitchen!

I pray that your winter days are being filled with blessings that you recognize as gifts from God’s hands. He’s the giver of them all.

P.S. I mentioned my radio recording – in case you don’t know, I do a daily broadcast on a local radio station. My church has all the recordings on their website. I linked it earlier and I’ll link it again, here, in case you’re interested. There’s a plethora of subjects from character traits to homemaking advice. Each broadcast is 15 minutes long. It is aired each week day on WHCB at 2:30 (recently changed) and on Saturday at 3:45. This is a ministry that the Lord placed in my lap, and I feel like the most unlikely person to be on the raido! There are days I wonder if anyone hears it, but I j ust know that I’m obeying the Lord in His direction in my life. So there you have it. If it can encourage you, than I’ll rejoice!

Tell me about one of your activities that helped you beat the winter blues!

Stay refreshed this winter,