Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So i was planning on "blogging" each day of our vacation here in the gulf, but internet access has been hit or miss lately so I haven't been able to sit down and describe the incredible time we are having. I am at the beach with the Robinson Family, Melanie and Kate (and a whole lot of JP's extended family). We left Friday and have been having a great time from the start.

Friday::::::: It took us a little while to get out of Franklin friday afternoon... at least an hour. Needed a new fuse, bathroom break and our brave van (lovingly known as "lil' red"), holding 7 people (including 2 car seats) and a ton of stuff, kept bottoming out. 
We had sing-along time with John Mark and Riley to some good ol' Roger Day songs (Zachary Hated Bumblebees), watched a bit of Robin Hood and practiced our impeccable voice-over abilities due to the low speaker volume, and learned a new song dedicated to John Mark by Riley called "Blue Eyed Boy". So cute. 
Spent the night in Montgomery where we got a lame amount of sleep (encouraged by our alarm screaming at us at 5:30 in the morning... i have never been so confused as to what was happening while Kate and Melanie searched for the power cord to get it to go off)

Saturday::::::: On the road again for about 4 more hours. Road trips with kids are never boring... especially with adorable, happy kids. Stopped by "Ria and Papa's" house and then Jill, Melanie, Kate and I trekked through crazy crowds at Walmart to get groceries for the week. 

We finally settled down into our lovely beach house.  If you look off the front porch you see the beautiful Gulf, and you look out off the back porch and you see the bay. Could you ask for more perfect placement? The street we are on is so quiet and car-less... it's wonderful.

Sunday:::::: We were woken up by joyous sounds of children... yelling and running throughout the house :) Kate and I were jumped on by our little friends John Mark and Riley to get us out of bed... which eventually happened. We decided that morning that we are going to have to work on getting to bed earlier. 

Enjoyed our first day on the beach reading, swimming, and just relaxing!!! I just finished the first book of the Mark of the Lion series...500+ pages later. So good. I am embarking on the 2nd one... also so good already. I think I'm addicted. 
Can't remember a whole lot from Sunday except that it was great. And there was an incredible sunset to close out the day. 

Monday::::::::: Spent all morning out on the beach reading, taking pictures, making dribble castles with Riley... etc. Riley wrote a new song entitled "Ocean Song" that has been an immediate hit. After our routine lunch break, it was my turn to stay back while Riley napped. I fell asleep on the couch while I thiiiink I was still in a conversation with JP and Kate... stayed totally out for 2 hours. Half of the time I was sitting up... my back is suffering for it.
While John Mark and JP went fishing, we had a girls night which included 7-layer dip (thank you, Jill), 7-layer coconut/chocolate bars (thank you, Melanie) and 27 Dresses. Perfect, yes. 

Tuesday::::::: Happy Anniversary JP and Jill! Melanie, Kate and I have been put in charge of John Mark and Riley while JP and Jill get some time away until tomorrow. Kate and I broke out the kayaks this morning! Ahhh I loved it. Can't figure out why I didn't discover this love until now. We attempted to chase down a group of dolphins but we didn't have any luck. 

Riley woke up from her nap in a surprisingly good mood. She and I played in the water for a while and she sang me some more of her amazing songs... "Fishes come home... fishes come home... Water come home... Water come home..." ---inspired by a school of fish we stumbled upon. 
We packed up our stuff and headed back to the beach house. I was put in charge of bath time. We came down for a delicious meal of mac-and-cheese and fruit (missed Jill's cooking tonight). 
As I was trying to put the kids down for bed and reading, a kind neighbor decided to interrupt us with fireworks... My mom used to sing this simple song to Blake, Cassie and I when we were little called the "nay-nay song" and I sometimes sing it to Riley when I'm trying to get her to fall asleep. Tonight she whispered to me, "erica, sing nay-nay-nay". She is so adorable. 

And now I am sitting on the porch in the most incredible weather I could ask for, listening to the sound of waves breaking, and looking up at a gorgeous, clear and starry sky. 
God is Great.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I have recently been blown away by honesty; honesty in people. Now that is hard to come by these days.

 I have been somewhat afraid of honesty for awhile. Not of the good-feeling kind of honesty that is easy to hear, but of the honesty that is hard to hear and to even say. The kind of honesty that you know beforehand could hurt either yourself or someone else you care about. I think from the time we are little kids, our culture, friends, even families sometimes, teach us (subconsciously) that being brutally honest is wrong. We are taught to be careful what to say so that we don't hurt other people's feelings. We grow up thinking that we should be ashamed of our short-comings and faults. Little kids make up stories... I think partly because they don't feel like the truth gets much attention. Now, I know that little kids also have incredible imaginations that are hard to contain at times, but I don't think that is the whole reason. All I'm saying is that as we grow up, made-up stories STILL get more attention. Maybe adults don't technically "make-up" stories, but they take out the bad stuff.  

Honesty is a weird concept. It shouldn't be, but our culture has so twisted it into a far off idea. Honesty can be one of the most difficult things you will experience in life. It can be one of the greatest. No matter how honesty comes about, painful or encouraging, easy or tough, I believe that honesty is pretty much always healing. Maybe not at the moment... maybe not for years (many times, probably). But eventually, I think it's what we need. I have heard some really tough truths already (and I'm only 18!). I can't imagine what other "tough truths" will come throughout my life. But I have also experienced great and wonderful truths. Simple truths, even. Truths about my Savior. Truths about people who love me. Truths about how people may really be feeling. That's a big one. We are so stuck in the mindset of fending for ourselves, taking care of me,  that somewhere along the way we decide that it would be much easier if people, even our closest friends and family, didn't know how we are feeling. We decide that if we can learn to hide our happiness, hurt, struggle, and joy, we will all get along with each other much more easily. Easily?? We hear that word and come running. So we train ourselves to hold grudges instead of confronting someone, to cry at night so we won't cry in front of our friends, and to hide our joy so we don't make people uncomfortable.

Honesty is, ironically, really hard for me. But I am learning that it shouldn't be. I am learning that the people who really care about me and love me won't judge me for how I am feeling. I have amazing people in my life that truly hold all judgement at the door. And if people do judge, I think that just means that they haven't learned how to be honest either. 

I'm definitely not all the way to the place I need to be with this, so cut me some slack (or slap me and tell me to get over it).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wonder Bread

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life". He didn't say that He is the toast you have for breakfast that will maybe keep you going until lunch time. He didn't declare himself as being the sweet-deliciousness of a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera that delights your taste buds for fifteen minutes and is gone (although totally worth it... try one. you'll love me). He called himself the bread of LIFE!! All that we need to sustain ourselves, all that we need to be fully alive is found in Him alone. Imagine eating only one meal your entire life and being able to survive on that one meal until you die, never feeling hunger or longing for something to eat. Jesus is that "bread". He is that one meal that we need. If we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, we can live in relationship eternally with Him.