Joy. It’s my word of the year. It doesn’t mean happy or peppy. It doesn’t mean that I won’t have a bad day or that I won’t ever be sad- or even angry.

This joy is the blessed assurance that Jesus is mine! It’s the confidence that no matter what happens or how bad or sad things get, everything is still going to be okay because Jesus made it okay. Joy is the decision and the choice to praise Him in all circumstances.

I’m going to praise Him in death and in tragedy and in conflict. Because He is good and I know that and I believe that. And this assurance is what I pray guides me in 2016. My words, my conversations, my decisions… I pray that they are spurred on by the confidence that He is good and it’s all going to be okay because Jesus made it okay.

I set a few small, measurable goals for 2016. There are some things I want to do that aren’t listed here like organizing our photos and cleaning out the attic, but these goals are measurable goals that I want to look at all year.

1. Read through the Bible in 2016. 

I follow a reading plan that our church provides and I’ve never made it past August. I want to finish this year! I did Angie Smith’s Seamless study (which I highly recommend!) with a group of girlfriends last summer and it gave me such a better understanding about how the Bible was written. I’m really really excited for the Bible in a year goal this year! And it’s not just to get it done, but to know God more and to look forward to that sweet time of fellowship with Him every day.

2. Host a family for supper once each month.

Hospitality was a big theme in our home in 2015 and I want to continue that in 2016. My goal is to host a family once a month, but it will probably end up being more like two families per month because we just enjoy it so much. My kids love it and it’s become a really good experience for them, too.

3. Write on my blog once a week.

I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but I just want to write these memories for my kids, and writing is a hobby that I neglected in 2015.

4. Exercise three times a week.

I chose the exercise piece of this because it is measurable, but I also have some goals for changing up some of our eating habits. I want to get back to the barre, I want to walk more, and I just want to have an overall household focus of health in the most grace-filled way. This also includes lots of sunscreen! I don’t need for us to be health-obsessed, but my mom did a lot of research about health and what can cause cancer and I want to carry that forward to my own children and husband.

I will choose joy in 2016. I will serve the Lord boldly and without reservation. I will love my family well. I know that Jesus is good and loving and I’m welcoming 2016 with the confidence that He has made it all okay.

Happy New Year!

our Colorado family vacation

Well… I thought I’d check in with my dusty little old blog. As always, there is never the intent to step away for so long, but it’s really nice when I do. We’ve had a great summer so far, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a good bit of what we’ve been up to. Lots of loving on James Walker, lots of swimming, a couple of camps, and we just returned from a family trip to Colorado.

We visited my brother in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado last week. Todd and I first visited this beautiful area when we were dating and were invited to go with a few other couples out there. And after that, my brother, Walker, moved out there.

Todd and I wanted to take the boys and meet my parents out there for a week to visit Walker and explore in the summer time. It was a nice escape from our heat and humidity here in South Carolina. I was a little nervous about the flight, but all the kids did great. James Walker fell asleep during take off for all of the flights and Hudson and Hayes played on their new Kindles.

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On the way to Beaver Creek, we stopped and did the Georgetown Loop Railroad. It was a beautiful little train ride and the kids loved it. James Walker, though, completely lost his mind every time the train whistle blew. Poor baby!

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Some friends of ours were very generous and offered for us to stay in their home out there, and it was so nice to have everyone staying in one spot for the week. We flew out on Monday morning and stayed for seven days. My cousin and her girls were also there and my boys loved having playmates for the week!

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I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but we did a lot of fun things all week. I’ll post links to all the places we went and things we did. It was one of our great family experiences together and we just enjoyed every single minute of being there. I keep comparing it to how much fun we all had at Disney World. It was just so much fun to get out and DO stuff together.

This was the day we rode the gondola to the top of Vail mountain and participated in all the fun adventure activities at the top. The boys did the rock wall, the zip line, and the ropes course. While Hudson was on the bunjee trampoline, I was taking video and pictures of him and completely missed a huge rock. I stumbled over the rock and skidded across a bunch of gravel. We laughed about it later, but mercy! How’d I miss that rock?

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We went white water rafting on a really tame part of the Colorado River. All the kids absolutely loved it! I’m excited about when they’re big enough to do a bigger trip!


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We spent the day at Beaver Creek one day, too, just shopping and doing putt putt and the fun adventure stuff there.


It rained one day, so we went to the Avon Recreation Center to the indoor pool with fun waterslides for the kids. It ended up being a ton of fun and they didn’t want to leave! We also had the kids playing games of Still Mouse Quiet Mouse when we were trying to gather up everything to leave the house.

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We went to the Beaver Creek Rodeo one night and we all loved it! I wasn’t sure if the kids would like it or not, but they were completely entertained and just watched in awe! We’d definitely do it again. Even James Walker liked it!


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We went back up to Adventure Ridge for the kids to play, and for Todd, Walker, Carrie, and me to zip-line!

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We all went bowling one night, and then on the last night, we went to see Pixar in Concert in an amphitheater. We packed a picnic and brought the selfie stick for a big group photo! That night was so much fun!

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This family photo just makes me smile so big! I love these people so much! IMG_2119

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We got to spend a lot of time with my brother and his girlfriend, Carrie, and any time we get to spend with my mom and dad is a gift. We came home with recharged batteries (despite missing our flight due to bad traffic and less-than-stellar planning and having to take the red eye home) and full hearts. It sounds corny, but really, it was so much fun.

I’ve linked to almost all of the things that we did while we were there in case you’re planning a trip to the Vail Valley area.

Georgetown Loop Railroad 

Adventure Ridge in Vail

Vail Gondola

Lionshead Village Playground

Timberline Upper Colorado White Water Rafting

Beaver Creek Adventure Center 

Avon Recreation Center 

Beaver Creek Ice Rink

Bravo! Vail at Gerald Ford Amphitheater 

Beaver Creek Rodeo 


James Walker’s birth announcement & Minted Giveaway


James Walker is our third baby and, admittedly, it’s been a little bit harder to be on the ball with the third baby. Remembering to pull out the big camera to take pictures of him doesn’t happen often. And other than this birth, we still haven’t pulled out the video camera for him. I ordered his baby book about a day before he was born and there’s a good chance I won’t write in it until his 10th birthday.

About a week after we got his newborn photos back, I realized that I needed to be thinking about birth announcements for him! He was already a month old, but better late than never. And, fast forward another month, and I’ve just mailed them.

Thankfully, the process of ordering the announcements was incredibly easy and addressing them was even easier. I went to Minted and picked out a beautiful design, chose my favorite photo of James Walker and my favorite family photo (on the back) and I was finished. At Christmas, I uploaded all of our address list to Minted, so I could just click a button and all of the envelopes were already addressed and had our return address on them.


I love hand-addressing an envelope, but my to-do list grows by the minute and it just wasn’t something I wanted to make the time to do. I’m still trying to finish up thank you notes. I know my limits.

The announcements arrived and I just love them. They’re on the best quality paper, it’s a beautiful design, and I even ordered a framed copy of the announcement to hang on a shelf in his room. Finishing up birth announcements has been on my list of things to do for weeks now, so I’m glad to have them in the mail and off to our dear friends and family. (I promise, friends and family, they are in the mail and you should have them in the next day or so!)


Today I’m giving away $200 to Minted! Entering is easy peasy. Just go here to enter. There are no hoops to jump through and you don’t have to join any social media channels to enter.

Enter to win $200 to Minted!

*This post may contain affiliate links

my top 9 movie and TV moms

*This post was originally published in 2012, but in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, I decided to repost it. Because who doesn’t love a little pop culture? 

I’ve been needing some pop culture in my life. And I happen to love watching some of my favorite TV shows on Nick at Nite. (When did all of the TV shows from my young adulthood end up on Nick at Nite?) And my favorite movies are constantly on TBS or TNT. So I have access to my favorite movies, TV shows, and characters a lot!

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I came up with a little list of my favorite movie and TV moms.

1. Tami Taylor

As the wife of the wonderful Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights, Tami keeps Coach Taylor, their daughter Julie, and all the football players in line. She has sass, style, and so much grace. Yet she is always honest and loving. Her love for her husband comes second only to her faith. I want to be Tami Taylor when I grow up.

2. Leigh Anne Tuohy

Speaking of style… This woman is spunky and not a lot different from Tami Taylor. In The Blind Side, she fights for her family and opens her heart and her mind to welcome a boy into their family. She is kind, generous, and loving. And she loves SEC football.

3. Claire Huxtable

Claire Huxtable shows more grace than any TV mom I can think of. She’s smart. She’s a hard-working mother. She’s beautiful. She is absolutely in love with her husband and has a no-nonsense approach to parenting. I love her! I live for reruns of The Cosby Show.

4. Debra Barone

Poor Debra has a lot to put up with. On Everybody Loves Raymond, she has pushy in-laws that live across the street. Her mother-in-law is critical of everything she does. Her hilarious husband plays a lot of golf and can be very forgetful. But he sure does love Debra and she has a great sense of humor. And she is a great mom to her kids- setting a great example. So what if the house isn’t perfectly clean and she doesn’t prepare gourmet meals?

5. Carol Connelly (or Carol the Waitress)

In As Good As It Gets, Carol is a single mother who works as a waitress. She had to put up with such a rotten customer every single day. She’d go home to her sick little boy every day and spend night after night in the emergency room. She would do anything for her son. Carol found love and her son was connected with a wonderful new doctor.

6. Kate McAllister

Sure, she left her son behind on two family trips in Home Alone and Home Alone 2. That’s not so good. But she was willing to do whatever it took to find her son and get to him. And lucky for her, he was very forgiving.

7. M’Lynn Eatenton

One of the beautiful Steel Magnolias, M’Lynn’s world revolves around her daughter Shelby. She loves her and wants to protect her from anything that would harm her. M’Lynn even gives Shelby a kidney. She is strong, she is Southern, and she would die for her children if she had to.

8. Isabel Kelly and 9. Jackie Harrison

As the mom and stepmom-to-be in Stepmom, Isabel and Jackie show that they both adore Jackie’s children, but they love them in different ways. The strength of both of these women causes me to sob during this movie every single time I watch it.

What TV or movie moms would make your list? Would any of you put Regina George’s mom on your list?

“I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.”

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