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She was born to be wild…



Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 |

…and she's the one that got away.



April, 2012.  Near Regensburg, Bavaria, in a centuries-old park.  Ellie and Walter were kind enough to share details of their visit there in words and pictures.  Walter captured a delightful story in this image…it made me smile as soon as I saw it.  Be sure to click on the picture to see it larger–you can better see the large tulip bed from which this little maverick escaped!


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Posted by on Sep 9, 2011 | 3 comments

I'm soaking in the sun and bathing in inspiration–

incourage writers at the beach

{l-r Bonnie, Lisa, Holley, me, Stephanie, Lisa Jo, Nester, Sarah, Lysa, Deidra, Dawn, Jen, Emily, Ann, Sally}

I'm just sad Mary, Kristen W., Kristen S., Jessica, Melissa, Heather, and Tsh hadn't made it yet for that picture… :).

Incourage in Real Life And, have you heard the big announcement at incourage???   We're really thinkin' outside the box!


* * * * * * *

I've been vacationing on Hilton Head Island for over 25 years, and it never ceases to amaze me–its beauty, nature and perfect fit for family, fun and/or ROMANCE (one of my best anniversary trips ever!).  The beach begs me to come back, delicious restaurants make me want to try them ALL and it's a place memories are waiting to be made.  I love it and there's a reason I keep returning ~ smile ~.

More on everything soon, but for now I I have to say thanks….

With gratitude to infinity and beyond to ~

DaySpring for believing in and supporting our writing team and the incourage community, and for making this trip happen…

The Hilton Head Island Convention & Visitor's Bureau and Jessica Gardo for coordinating our amazing accommodations

Beach Island Rentals for providing two spectacular ocean front beach shacks đŸ˜‰

One Hot Mama's for a delicious catered dinner Wednesday night

Robert Irvine's Eat! for hosting Thursday night scrumptiously memorable dinner

Signe's Bakery, for a wonderful Thursday morning breakfast

Low Sea Bike, Beach and Baby for bicycles for our stay

I unabashedly recommend a vacation to Hilton Head (I've been traveling here since the 80s) and your use of one and all of the above; not because of what they treated us to, but because each is excellent at what they do!!


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Eucharisteo ~ The Beach Edition



Posted by on Jun 6, 2011 | 12 comments

beach umbrella under blue sky

sand in shoes on the beach

balcony view of beach

Loggerhead turtle nest

sunset in Ponte Vedra

I feel like there's something wrong with me; the premise of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts is so…well…me.  It's my nature to be grateful for simple things, to notice the beauty of the ordinary and every day.

But I can't seem to finish her book…

and I haven't yet cultivated the habit of journaling gratitude.

Ann opens her veins and bleeds painstaking beauty in One Thousand Gifts.  It's spiritual and mental feast, meaty and rich and delicious…but difficult for me to digest.  Am I the only one?  Maybe I'm spending too much time ruminating over thoughts cast in new light, maybe I'm making the simple too hard.

Thanksgiving, joy, grace–should pursuit and practice be such a challenge?  Then again, there is a learned aspect to all of this.  Gratitude comes easily when good things happen, but it takes intention to be thankful when life takes turn unexpected.

Today I'm not giving into defeat; in spite of my inconsistency and lack of discipline in journaling my own 1,000 Gifts, I'll pick up where I left off, and this time remember and share a glimpse of the easiest things to celebrate ~ moments from our beach vacation.

6.  Blue skies (almost) and rainbows you can touch.

7.  Sand in my shoes.

8.  A room with spectacular view.

9.  Crashing waves, thunderous applause for their Creator.

10.  Invisible loggerhead turtle nests.

11.  Spectacular sky shows morning and evening. 

12.  Happy feet.

13.  Cousins working hard.  Cousins playing hard.

14.  The best buried treasure of them all.

15.  Palmetto trees.

16.  Fascinating sea creatures, ordinarily taken for granted (or depised!).

17.  Tan lines.

18.  Beach walks, beach talks.

19.  Gulls who dance with the wind.

20.  My boys…and the staff member who captured an image of us on the way out of town :).

21.  A perfect reading spot.







  Dasani water bottle on the beach

reading on the beach


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Where the wild things are



Posted by on Mar 19, 2011 | 1 comment

Thirteen is their lucky number.

Jeff, Tad, Joe and Scott playing Harbour Town golf

For 13 years the guy in the blue and the guy in the black have been roughing it on an annual golf outting, traipsing up and down a trail pioneered by some joker named Robert Trent Jones; the other two characters have tagged along most of those years.  Another four rounds out an even eight, most of them friends for decades.

When they got tired of the commute–and because Cool Sunglass Boy on the left has a condo there–they switched venues to Hilton Head Island, certainly close to God's Country and one of my favorite memory spots of all time.  At least one round they'll ferry over to Daufuskie Island, sparkling diamond in the rough.

This year when a door opened to play Harbour Town, they held hands and skipped through; or something like that, I've been told.  The course is unmistakable with the Harbour Town Lighthouse standing sentry.  Some would say it's too pricey to play, but I'd wager the guys would say it's priceless to have played.  

They leave the womenfolk behind, and we're just fine with that. Some of us bake poundcake (guilty) or cookies (Fancy), and the rest just send them on their merry way, knowing this is good for our guys.  It's a tradition we've come to appreciate almost as much as them, and I must say it's easier now than it was when our babies were, well, babies.  

And though a few stories make it back home–riding in the porno-van (no, it's not what is sounds like…exactly), catching restaurants on fire, and tales on the way to Marshside Mamas–what happens in Hilton Head (or Alabama) stays in Hilton Head.

Which is perfectly alright with me.

* * *

Do you take part in an annual girls'/guys' weekend away or encourage your spouse to do the same?  What are your thoughts about the benefits or why might you discourage it?  I'm curious.


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I like it when you help me make up my mind :)



Posted by on Nov 21, 2010 | 8 comments

THANK YOU to everyone who chimed in in comments or on Twitter; I decided to go with the first picture based on your input and because the warm colors remind me of the cool season.  :)

This week's challenge for Secret Agent Mama's "Picture it Outside of the Box" is "bokeh."  Because I can't make a blasted decision, and because readers were helpful last time, I thought I'd solicit your opinions to help me choose.  

Do you mind telling me your favorite below and why?  Sometimes it really helps to see an image through your eyes!  

Granddaddy long-leg, my back yard


Floral beauty at the Biltmore House gardens

Beauty & the bees, Biltmore Estate Gardens


Sand crab @ Kiawah Island

Bird house at Oak Knoll Farm

Snow & red berries

I agree with Mishi–these ARE bokehlicious! 

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All {in} the family, part three



Posted by on Sep 23, 2010 | 11 comments

All {in} the family, part one
All {in} the family, part two 

I love this picture:

Photo by Dawn Camp, 

(l-r, Annie, Holley, me & Jessica)


Maybe we're all smiles because we're barefoot and relaxed, but mostly it captures a moment in time when our smiles could only anticipate good times to come.   We didn't know then what we'd eventually learn as the weekend unfolded:  we don't just love each other, we like each other.  A lot.

I don't think Holley and Stephanie simply imagined God-sized dreams for (in)courage, I think God gave them the vision for the site.  Twenty-seven different authors, personalities, writing styles and stages of life, penning thought, struggle, victory, challenge and encouragement…and somehow there's a consistently sweet harmony that sings to the hearts of women.

{A beautiful gift from DaySpring for the author team, in celebration of our year anniversary.  A few words that mean so much!  Photo credit:  Nester}

It's humbling and wonderful to share in this collaboration among so many talented writers (I still can't believe I have this privilege!).  And best of all, with the debut of our re-design, (in)courage has opened its doors to invite guest posters!

It's taken a while to pull this post together because I've been waiting on pictures and it's just daggum hard to process such a fantastic weekend.  Here's my best attempt to tell you what I REALLY think about some pretty amazing women đŸ™‚ ~ 

@PensieveRobin and @AnnieBlogs Annie.  

I like Annie because she rode bikes on the beach with me to Mexico.  From the first time I met her at She Speaks a few years ago, my first impression has proved true:  she's changing the world because she loves others with her Whole Person.  And her daddy makes some killer trail mix.  

Arianne@ToThink & @PensieveRobin; photo credit by Dawn Camp.  I like Ari because she doesn't just listen with her ears, she hears with her hart.  Arianne used to intimidate me because she's one of "those" writers–the kind that spins words so beautifully you don't read them, you feel them.  She's intentioned, kind and affirming.  I love to hug her.

Dawn Camp; Photo Credit: Emily, Chatting at the Sky Dawn.  I like Dawn because she always has "supplies" when I need them. Twice now.  I also met her at She Speaks, but just prior to our meeting, we bonded over George Clooney.  Ask her, it's true.  With gorgeous piercing blue eyes, she is a wonderful photographer and generously shares what she knows.  Plus, anyone who manages a home with eight children amazes me.

@EmilyChats & @PensieveRobin Emily.  I like Emily because her yummy chocolate eyes express what she's thinking.  Mischievousness, concern, empathy or joy, you don't have to wonder.  Another She Speaks friend, being with Emily always leaves me wanting more of her.  Her first book will be released next year and I can't WAIT to read it!  Her writing voice dances.

@HolleyGerth @ToThink @InspiredBryant; photo credit: Dawn Camp Holley.  I like Holley because she knows how to draw you into conversation deep and wide.  Her concern for others and ability to see the Big Picture challenges me to do the same.  She's a dreamer but not the kind who floats aimlessly with her head in the clouds.  Her dreams come true.  She buoys me.

Jen Schmidt; Photo Credit: Emily, Chatting at the SkyJen.  I like Jen because she's unexpectedly direct (which I suppose sorta matches her beautifully intense eyes).  She's quick to encourage you to see the other side of an issue, firmly but gently.  I don't know how she masters both.  She also impresses me with her blog savvy and I wish I knew as much as she does.

Photo credit Dawn Camp; @PensieveRobin and @JessicaNTurnerJessica.  I like Jessica because she loves early mornings and sunrises as much as me.  She's almost young enough to be my daughter but it doesn't seem like it.  She's determined and disciplined and I don't know many women who accomplish all she does.  Plus, I *heart* her freckles.

@LisaLeonard & @PensieveRobinLisa.  I like Lisa because she's turned a passion into vocation and generously shares what she has with others.  She has an enviable sense of style.  She also has this way of making you feel like like you're the most important person in the world when she's engaged in conversation.  She's a pure creative.

@PensieveRobin & @GivingUpPerfect Mary.  I like Mary because she's unafraid to introduce something new into a discussion, and does so without offense or threat.  She's smart and funny and open, and my spirit is lifted when I'm around her.  I like the premise of her blog, giving up perfection, because it's a struggle all women can relate to.  

@TheNester & @PensieveRobin Nester.  I like Nester because she has two names and both of them make me smile.  She's unassuming and quick to laugh and she's another one who always leaves me wanting more.  I wish she was an in-town friend so maybe some of her design savvy could rub off on me…plus, my sister-in-law has a mad crush on her.

@PensieveRobin & @SarahMarkley Sarah.  I like Sarah because we (along with Holley) shared an amazing moment:  reclining on beach chairs while watching shooting stars fly over the ocean…talking about life, friendship, the Church and more–it was magical.  She writes transparently with heart and soul…and appreciates a killer pinot noir.

@PensieveRobin & @InspiredBryant Stephanie.  I like Stephanie because she's got the stinkingest, darlingest business card I've ever seen and I totally wanna steal it for my own.  She's a marketing gal to the core–and if you don't know, that's my professional background–and she's someone I want to talk SHOP with but it never seems to happen!  She's surprisingly goofy, but in a second, can speak straight to your soul.  

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