Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hello, goodbye & everything inbetween

A moment. Finally, time to post!

I last left you with the challenges to myself in the book I am reading as well as a few books I hope to get to in coming months. That was on the eve of the arrival of our friends from Illinois.

Simply said, our visit with Becky and Stacy was great! I felt like I was on vacation, too, hanging out with them and not having to worry too much about a schedule. The only time we had to think about where we had to be and when was for our church's egg hunt last Saturday, church Sunday morning and then time out at the ballpark that afternoon with others from church. Other than that, we did what we pleased.

What we pleased meant a trip to Apalachicola and St. George Island, the above mentioned weekend church activities, a couple of trips to the beach for some sun, a dolphin cruise and dinner for Sabian's birthday, shopping and eating with Libby, Wednesday night youth service and eating, eating, eating. Just like when you're on vacation, everything seemed to revolve around eating. I think we maintained a "full" state the whole time the girls were here!

I forgot to mention that we colored eggs, too. In our emails back and forth before they got there Becky had one request and that was that we would dye eggs while they were here. I thought it was a great idea, especially since this would be Addie's first time. It was a lot of fun and Addie loved it. Every part except for when she cracked and egg shell and Sabian peeled the egg. Apparently a broken egg shell is better than no shell at all.

The time we spent catching up with these girls was really great. They were both older members of our youth group in Troy, IL and remained faithful during our time there. These girls are very special to us and have now made the trip to Wewa twice, once by land and once by air. Addie loved having them here and is still asking for "S'acey" and "Gecky." She sweetly asks for them a couple of times a day. I am soooo glad we get to see them again next month!

Without further adieu, photos from our fun week:
Face plant on St. George Island.

There's CANDY in these eggs!

A friend from church brought this "friend" by to see us.

Off to see the dolphins!

Stacy cautiously feeding the birds flying near the boat.

Brave girl!

Birthday picture with Daddy.

Dolphins! We even got to see a baby dolphin swimming with its mom.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

There were many more details to our week, but this is the gist of it. We had a wonderful time with Becky and Stacy and we were sad to see them go. It was fun having them here to celebrate Sabian's birthday with us (Happy Birthday Sabe!) and just having them here in general was nice.

I am thankful for lasting relationships like these! 

P.S. Becky, I want some of your photos! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To my fellow bookworms...

Recently I was trying to figure out what to tackle for my personal devotion time. I usually choose a book in the Bible, read it, study it and as always, I'll read the daily reading for My Utmost for His Highest. I like doing this, but I find myself drawn back to the same books (Philippians, in particular). Not that I don't think I can't learn something new, but I was hoping to try for something new.

I considered choosing a book to read alongside my Bible, but was afraid I might get too caught up in the book and overlook reading my Bible. But, I know for me that rather than sitting down and just figuring out something to read in the Bible during my devotion, I need to have more of an agenda. This is mostly due to the fact that time to sit down and do this isn't always available so when it is, I need to make the most of it.

Ultimately I did decide to read a book, but knew that I would need to be diligent about reading the scriptures and context that the book references. Then, I felt like I would have a set devotion and would get the Bible reading in as well.

I have a book, A Young Woman's Walk with God by Elizabeth George, that I bought with the original intention of using it as a study with one or more girls in our youth group. I purchased it along with a book by the same author, A Young Woman's Call to Prayer, which I was able to walk through with a high schooler from church a couple of summers ago. I felt like it was a fruitful time for both of us.

A Young Woman's Walk with God has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while, along with many other books I would like to read. I thought it would be good to read it so that, if the time does come to use it in a study with other girls, I would know what it's about. It is geared more toward high school to college aged girls, but so far it has been good for me, too.

I was pleased when I saw that the book's focus is on the fruit of the Spirit. This passage of scripture, the whole chapter, is full of applicable, Godly characteristics that we should be implementing in our daily lives. George's book is a great reminder of how to carry out the fruit of the Spirit, making it evident in our lives. Simply written and easy to read, it has called me out on a few things and has made me humbly recognize what I'm not and should be doing in my own life.

Like I said, along with this book there are several in my stash that are waiting to be read. I love to read but, as I am sure many of you can relate, it is hard to find the time. If I can get my devotion in, I'm doing well. Additional reading is icing on the cake, but many times it doesn't happen. We read with Addie at night and I hope and pray she will enjoy reading like Sabian and I do.

I currently have at least four books I really want to get to:
Don't Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman
Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anectdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia debelle Byrd

Both of the above are gifts from my friend Libby and the second book is signed by the author, who spoke at our church.

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

This was a gift to me from our pastor's wife and is written by the wife of Stephen Curtis Chapman. It is about Mary Beth's life including the loss of one of their adopted daughters. I'm figuring they should sell this one with a box of tissues...

See You in a Hundred Years by Logan Ward

I read about this one on another blog and it sparked my interest. Think you could revert back to living like it was 1900?

So, maybe this is a quasi Summer reading list. There are more waiting for me and some I would like to read again. I hope to get to the library, too, and to take Addie. I've taken her before but she was more interested in taking books off the shelves and being not so quiet. Maybe we'll try it again soon and see how she does now. I'd love for her to get in the habit of enjoying going to the library and getting new books to read. For now, we're wrapped up in Curious George every night before bed.

I have no photos to accompany this post, so here is what we were doing this time last year:

Today I am thankful for the lunch out with a friend yesterday and for the arrival of our guests tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sweet Heart Cupcakes

Addie and I went on an adventure last week.

First, let's rewind to her birthday.

I briefly mentioned in my post about her birthday that we stopped for cupcakes before we headed home for the day. As I was planning what we would do for her day I searched for cupcake places in the area because I thought it would be fun to take her for a treat. In my search I stumbled across Sweet Heart Cupcakes in Panama City Beach.

Cool blue walls complemented by contemporary black and white accents welcome you when you step through the door of this sweet cupcake store. Audrey Hepburn posters and modern tables and chairs offer an inviting atmosphere for relaxing, chatting and catching up over cupcakes in flavors such as Vanilla Bean, Red Velvet, Cotton Candy, Lemon Lavender, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Raspberry Mint and many more.

Sweet Heart Cupcakes is owned and operated by college student Angel Pereira. On a small budget and with help from her boyfriend, Chris, Angel opened her store last Fall. The couple work together to serve cupcakes in the flavors listed above as well as others including Strawberry Basil, Root Beer Float and even more.

Last Friday Angel and Chris celebrated their grand reopening by revealing the remodel they've recently worked so hard on. A new look and seating areas for customers offer even more options for their store and make it a fun place to visit.

Love the thoughtfulness for their little customers!

On a personal note, Angel and Chris are both super nice and it was great talking with them and hearing the story behind Sweet Heart Cupcakes. For me, it was fun having visited the store just a few weeks earlier and then visiting again to see the new reveal. I will say, Addie did pretty well but we stayed just long enough before Addie was about to start in on the dismantling of their hard work.

I can also vouch for the cupcakes - they're really good! For her birthday Addie had a chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate icing and chocolate chips and I had the peanut butter chocolate. Both were awesome.

Located in Panama City Beach, Sweet Heart Cupcakes is ideal for an after dinner dessert or a mid-afternoon snack as you bathe at the beach. Be sure to check out their Facebook page or call the store to find out what the flavors of the day are. Or, place a special order for a party or special occasion.

Visit them on the web:

Follow them on Facebook

Give them a call or a visit!

Sweet Heart Cupcakes
533 Richard Jackson Blvd.
Panama City Beach, FL 3407

Thanks, Angel and Chris, for letting us stop by and get a sneak peek of your store!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Thank goodness it's Monday.

I know most people dread Mondays, and it's not that I'm necessarily a proponent of Mondays, but when our weekend was what this past weekend was, I was thankful to see today.

I've posted before about how we've become professional pork pullers here in the Chaney household and this last week/weekend we had the opportunity to hone our skills even more. We were up to our elbows in this:

That's just part of over 300 pounds of Boston Butt. We pulled pork for a few hours last Thursday afternoon/evening with a band of awesome helpers in preparation for a fundraiser we were part of on Saturday.

In Wewa we receive our electric service from a cooperative. Every year Co-op day is a big deal and people come from around the panhandle to little ol' Wewa. They conduct business and give away prizes and there's food to eat, animals for the kiddos to see and a few other things. Our first co-op day was beginner's luck for us - Addie won a hanging plant for being the youngest in attendance and we also won a Wal-mart gift card. This year we walked away with no prizes but we kept busy dishing out hotdogs and pulled pork sandwiches to the many who were there. It was all over by about noon (all except for the clean up and miscellaneous wrap up) and we came home hot, sweaty and tired. But, we raised a good amount of money that will help our kids go to camp and other various activities throughout the year. 

Sabian spent hours preparing and orchestrating our plan of attack, we had lots of help along with the couple of guys in our church who are great about cooking the meat any time we need a few butts cooked ;) I'm glad we did it but I'm glad it is over, too. Later that day we were able to welcome my friend Libby home at the airport and then we came home to crash and prepare for Sunday.

And today, well, today Addie and I did our domestic duties in preparation for our Illinois friends who are arriving later this week. It was a busier Monday than we normally have but it was nice to do what we needed to do at our own pace.

Today I am thankful for Addie - she behaved really well all weekend and today, too! I'm also thankful for all of the help we had over the weekend.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Setting the record straight

Our life is not all beach visits and trips to the park.

I have a two year old who throws fits from time to time, is still learning how to share and, on some nights, will still get in and out of bed a few times before she's really down for the night.

I'm not writing this in response to a nasty email I've received about how I perfectly portray our life here. Rather, I'm writing it in response to what's been on my mind lately.

Monday was a blah day. It was easy to focus on everything that is wrong in the world. I didn't feel like doing anything and it was one of those days when we just got through the day. (Note: the rest of the week has been much better.)

Days like Monday cause me to think about why the day is like it is. Or maybe, why my mood is the way it is. Then, as our minds tend to work, our thoughts branch off into stem after stem after stem. I started thinking about my blog.

I thought about some recent posts I'd read on other blogs I follow. Recent as in the last couple of months, but these posts have been similar in nature and two of them I've just read in the last couple of weeks.

It's that idea of reality. Of how we choose to use our blogs, what we choose to write. The picture we choose to paint of our lives via the blogosphere. Bloggers write for different reasons. I chose to start my blog as a way to let family and friends know what was going on with us. I'd wanted to start a blog before we moved, before we were even thinking of a move, but felt I didn't have much of a platform from which to write. Once we moved, I got pregnant and we were experiencing a lot of life far from home, it seemed I had a reason to write. I knew it would be to a small audience, but that was fine. I also knew that in the end, it would be fun to look back and read about our experiences.

These particular blog posts I've been reading lately have caused me to think more about why I write and what I write. I like to write. I've written to make a living and now I do it for fun. (Granted, I would like to do it for money again at some point, but I digress...)

I never intended for this blog to be my personal journal. I have a journal. While I don't always get to write in it on a consistent basis, for me, my blog and journal are two separate things. Don't misunderstand me - I'm not knocking those who do use their blogs as journals and in a way, a blog is a sort of journal by its very nature. But, this does bring me to the point, I guess, I have been mulling over.

Transparency. I struggle with it. I appreciate it it in others and I often feel somewhat honored when I recognize that a person has chosen to be transparent with me. I take it as a compliment. As much as I desire it in my relationships I often find it hard to reciprocate. I'm working on it, but that's what it is...a work in progress.

Maybe this has been brought to light more since I've spent a lot of time out of my comfort zone in the last three years. New place, new people, new experiences. It can be easier to be open with people you've known a while, which is what I left behind. Transparency means admitting faults, bad habits...makes you vulnerable. Ugh.

But, if I desire it in other people, I need to be able to return it, right? Well, I believe so, anyway, especially if I desire to form healthy, open, growing relationships. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to proclaim my foibles to the masses, but like I said...a work in progress.

Not to worry, I'm not about to start using this blog as a platform for my deepest, darkest secrets. But, I do desire it to be real. Of course I want to tell you about our good days and the fun we have and the interesting things that happen in this small town, but I guess it is important for me for you to know that our life is still, downs, twists and turns abound in the Chaney family. And of course, unless my account is hacked by an evil stalker, I'll always be able to filter what I write on here - I mean, I know that you may want to know about a recent trip we took but I'm not going to detail how many times I brushed my teeth or whether or not I swept and mopped my floors this week.

To you, this post may come across as completely unnecessary, and that's okay. To me, I wanted and needed to write it. As much as I like blogging, at times I go back and forth with it - how to use it, what to do with it, stop, keep going...whatever I do with it, I want it to be fun, I want it to be real and I want to be able to speak the truth.

On a more lighthearted note, Addie and I went on a little adventure yesterday that I am looking forward to writing about. Hope to do it next week. We're in for a busy weekend and then looking forward to Illinois visitors next week! 

Today I am thankful for you guys. I know my readership isn't huge, isn't even big, but I appreciate all of you.

A calm-before-the-storm photo!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Crapper Caper

There is a caper on the loose in Wewa...the Crapper Caper.

He (or sometimes she or they) is leaving deposits all over town. 

Watch out, or the Crapper Caper may get you!

Today I am thankful for brownies and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.