Saturday, August 27, 2011

Family Vacation: Day 16 "Last Day in South Carolina"

So, here's our last day in S.C.

This last picture has a cool story. We went to the Garden City Pier in hopes of seeing sharks like we did earlier in the first week. A man was fishing near us and caught this baby sand shark. He asked Abbie if she wanted to hold it and explained specifically where to grasp it so it wouldn't bit her. Pretty cool! When he told her to throw it back in, he said, "And watch to see if a big shark eats it." Stephen and I peered over the ledge and as soon as the baby shark hit the water, up popped a 5' shark to eat the baby! So cool!

The Help: A MUST read

A few months ago, I picked up a copy of "The Help" after hearing from my sister Barb how great it was.

WOW - what a novel. After just the first chapter, I was engaged and actually forced myself to read slow so that I could enjoy the experience longer!

When I first saw the previews for the movie, I was a little concerned. I really cared about these characters and the story was such a deep, moving one for me and since the previews looked lighthearted, I was afraid it wouldn't do the book justice.

I have seen the movie twice now (Matt and I saw it on a date in South Carolina!) and in my opinion, while it's not as good as the book (what movies are, really?), I think it did a fairly good job at keeping with the overall tone of the novel. Stellar performances!

There are so few movies I feel I can wholeheartedly recommend these days, but The Help is definitely one of them.

For an excellent review of the book, I can't commend this enough, from Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands.

Now stop what you are doing, buy the book or put yourself on the waiting list at your local library and READ IT!

Hurricane Simulation

We kept passing this contraption in the mall and decided to let the kids try it out. Pretty funny video footage, especially of Jayda's array of emotions.

Family Vacation: Day 15 "Acquire"

With the house mostly packed up and ready to go in the morning, it's time for a game of "Acquire".

Can you see that Matt is scheming against his children?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Family Vacation: day 14 "Mall-Fun"

We headed to Coastal Grand Mall so that I could get a new purse, so what does Matt do while I'm looking around?

He grabs a hat and does a Michael Jackson stance with Abbie.

Since we were hoping to dodge Irene by staying in South Carolina a bit longer, we allowed (sorta shoved) the kids to try out this Hurricane Simulation machine.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Cops and Robbers" - Part 2

So Allyson's passenger side window was bashed in and my purse was taken.

We called the Police and learned that this particular mini golf had several break-ins recently. While we waited for them to arrive, we huddled together and prayed that the robbers would be found and that I'd get my purse back. Even as my children were praying aloud for this, in my heart, I had even less faith than a mustard seed.

The Police Officer arrived, took our statements, asked a bunch of questions and began dusting for fingerprints. Abbie and I decided to look around the perimeter of the parking lot, hoping that maybe they grabbed the cash from my wallet and tossed the rest. In our search, just about 10' from the car, we discovered a utility knife on the ground with glass from the window around it. The Police Officer added it to an evidence bag.

We didn't find my purse in the parking lot, but we did discover some huge tire tracks that appeared like they were from a truck or SUV that peeled wheels out of there.

Phoning Matt, I learned that over $500 had been withdrawn in addition to a few charges at a local Exxon Mobile gas station. I handed my phone to the Police Officer so that Matt could give her the detailed information. As she was speaking to Matt, a family was leaving the golf place and stopped and asked, "What happened...did a golf ball hit your window?"

We explained that we were robbed and both the father and older son in the group remembered seeing a gray Mitsubishi truck, with no hubcaps, peeling wheels out of the parking lot without any headlights on. The direction they went, which was out the Entrance, seemed to fit the way the tire prints were. I got a little hopeful. There was also video surveillance that could possibly show something but the Police Officer would not have access to that until the morning.

Covering her fist with a blanket from the car, Allyson punched out the rest of the glass, and brushed out as much of the mess that she was able to so that we could ride home safely.

When we got back to our beach house, I was pretty emotional. While Matt canceled all of our credit cards, I was particularly worried about my social security card, drivers license and keys. These robbers had everything they needed to steal my identity as well as get into my home and cars! It was a very unsettling feeling.

At around 1:29 a.m., my iPhone rang and to my utter shock, it was the Police Officer! Because of the tip that family provided about the truck, they were able to send out an APB and within a few hours, they found the robbers.

And they had my purse! Aside from the cash, everything was still inside!

Turns out it was three people - two guys and a girl. The girl was afraid when the Police Officer questioned her and she spilled the beans! One of the guys said that he lost his knife! Yes, it was the exact same knife we found in the parking lot. Basically, the girl was the driver and the guys were doing the robbing and they were doing it quite successfully down the Grand Strand corridor, hitting up tourists with obvious out of state license plates.

So, at 1:45 a.m. we were driving back to the mini golf to meet the Police Officer to get my purse back. She pulled out a big plastic bag marked "EVIDENCE" and there was my purse! Aside from reeking of smoke, everything was there, even my bluetooth! Seems their robbing was supporting a drug habit, which explained the odd test tube looking gadget in my purse. That wasn't mine and the Police Officer quickly took it.

All three people were arrested and put in jail and the Officer told us that they would be prosecuted in a high crimes court case.

Wow, what an adventure!

I am still amazed that my purse was found. Even though I prayed, I didn't really believe in my heart it was going to happen. I am so thankful that God is greater than my unbelief!

Family Vacation: day 13 "Cops & Robbers"

I haven't been commenting much on my vacation photographs. I mean, there isn't much of a need. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I was trying to save the commentary and just show the image(s) that stood out on each day.

Today requires an explanation though, trust me.

We awoke to another gorgeous beach day. Matt had a full day with our four ewoks yesterday, while I went to Bulls Island with Allyson, so today was a little personal time for him at the beach.

All alone. No kids. No boogie boards. No sand toys to carry or hands to hold or a need for watchful eyes at the beach. Not today, not for Matt. It was just Matt, a few cold drinks, a can of Pringles, a book, and a bottle of oils for his already darkened body.

We all went to dinner at one of our favorites, Drunken Jacks. Things were going well.

Since it was such a beautiful, clear, night (calm before the storm ?), Allyson and I went to miniature golf with Stephen and Abbie and Matt stayed back with David and Jayda. It was a fun course and we were all golfing pretty well. Stephen got two hole in ones and Abbie was getting a "2" on most of the holes, meeting the par.

Look how happy my big kids are!

When we finished up the 18th hole, we anxiously waited for Allyson to tally up the score and announce the winner and loser.

Loser: A tie between Allyson and Abbie
2nd Place: Stephen

Just as we were getting ready to walk down to hand in our putters, Abbie looked down (the last hole was up high) and noticed that the passenger side of Allyson's car was broken. Shocked, we immediately all looked and couldn't believe our eyes. I remembered that my purse was in the car, pushed under the seat.

When we got to her car and peered in, trying to avoid the glass everywhere, we could see that my purse was gone! We were robbed at Inlet Adventure golf! All of my credit cards, my health cards, cash, drivers license, social security card and other personal things were in my purse, along with my bluetooth, keys, and let's not forget my Norwex opti-cloth.

Within 30 minutes, Matt discovered that they had withdrawn over $500 from my checking account in addition to over $70 at a local gas station.

.....To be continued.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Sometimes...when you are walking down a crude path

with mosquitos nipping at every inch of your bare skin,

you hit a roadblock.

This was ours at Bulls Island. Click on the picture twice to get a good view of our roadblock.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Run for Their Lives

Run for Their Lives is a 5K that will be held on October 29th throughout the United States. With options to run or walk, this race aims to spotlight the tragedies of sexual exploitation across the world. Poverty and human trafficking has forced hundreds of thousands of women and children into sexual servitude.

Just check out these statistics:

  • It is estimated that two children are sold into slavery every minute
  • There are more than 300,000 prostitutes in Thailand alone
  • These women and children produce an approximate annual income of $27 billion
  • Close to $300 million is transferred every year to rural families by women engaged in prostitution in urban areas
  • Right now, as you read this, women are sacrificing their dignity and self-worth in order to provide for themselves and their families. This is an issue of poverty.
We must not ignore the enormity of the issue. We can make a difference. Let's start by lacing up our running shoes (or walking shoes) and bring awareness to the issue and financial aid to the victims.

What can you do to make a difference? Join us for the race in Maryland!

Location: Beachmont Christian Ministries
Check in begins at: 7:30 a.m. (pick up race t-shirts and racing bib)
Race begins at: 8:30 a.m.

More information & details about how to register can be found at:

Run for them. Run for freedom. Run for their lives.