Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What We're Up To These Days

I don't believe that can truly call myself a blogger any more. We're in a different season of life right now and blogging isn't high up on the list of priorities these days. I thought it might be fun to hit a few highlights and catch my blog up to where we are now.

Jordan just finished his first year of college. He's working his second Summer at Camp McCall- our state's Baptist Royal Ambassador Camp for boys. This picture was taken there at family day in June. The highlight of Jordan's Summer so far, outside of camp, has been spending the day on a yacht in the Charleston Harbor with the camp staff.

Riley will be entering his senior year of high school in just a few weeks. He has a new job at the local grocery store and is working on his Eagle Scout Project. Riley was "officially" diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in May. His eye disease is still no longer detectable.

Kendra just finished kindergarten. She's a great reader- finished on a second grade level! She's also a great gymnast and flips everywhere that she goes. She is all about her baby dolls and takes one or five everywhere we go. She's a serious little mama. Kendra and her Daddy took their first Daddy-daughter trip this Summer to attend a family wedding on the coast.

Kendra was in a wedding in May.

Barry is teaching and coaching both football and basketball at a local high school. He's currently taking a few grad courses to earn further certification to teach gifted students. If he's not at school or working on his classwork, you can usually find him at the church.

I'm working semi-full-time outside of the home and planning fun trips for my friends. I usually have a calendar and a notebook full of lists in hand. Kendra and I have made mini adventures to the thrift store a priority this Summer to further her reading collection.

Outside of that, we're just trying to maintain a balance between busy and being fully present. We've done some fun things this Summer like swimming, camping, hiking, worshipping and travelling. We're hoping to squeeze in a little more fun before school starts back. We have tubing and a tea party on our list!

We're so thankful for a healthy, happy family!

God is so sweet to me.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hey, Let's Go to Disney!

Sometime last year a lightbulb went off in my head. After many years of helping my friends and family plan and budget for their Disney vacations, I decided that it was time for me to take it one step further. I became an official Disney Travel Agent! Now, I get paid to help folks plan their Disney trips. Somebody pinch me. No, don't. I like this dream come true! The great thing about working with an official Disney Travel Agent is that you get to have the same contact person for all of your planning needs. You don't pay your travel agent a single penny extra. Not even one. Disney pays us in commissions when you book your trip through us. Plus, you get the same great rates as if you had done all of the research and calling yourself. Our job is to help you design the most magical trip on the face of the planet. Hello, BEST JOB EVER.
Of course, if you give a mouse a cookie, I mean, if you give a girl a travel agent license, she's going to want to go to Disney. Lucky for me, we had planned a fancy Disney camping trip a few months back to celebrate my Dad's birthday. We booked a premium camping spot at Disney's Fort Wilderness Lodge. Premium spots are located close to transportation. We were literally just a few steps from the bus stop. At Fort Wilderness we enjoyed camping in my parents' RV. The kids hit the pool as soon as we were parked. It was a lot of fun, but very chilly. We made some meals ourselves in the camper, so we did not book a dining plan for this trip. Two nights, we went over to P & J's Southern Take-out (located at FW) and purchased the take-out meal for $23.39. It included 8 pieces of fried chicken, cornbread and two sides. There were six of us and it filled us up with none left-over. We attended Chip & Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long one night and took our own makings for s'mores to make over the campfire. We just purchased our sticks for roasting there for $0.69 each. After the sing-a-long Barry, Kendra and I stayed to watch the movie under the stars. On this night they were playing Princess Diaries.
The next morning we headed to the Garden Grill inside of Epcot for breakfast. It is one of our most favorite breakfast spots at Disney. The food is so delicious and it's fun to hang out with Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto.
After breakfast, we spent the day in Epcot visiting some of our favorite pals.
My Dad was the biggest kid of all!
Our most favorite part of Epcot this trip was riding the new Frozen ride. Our family owns a small business that provided some of the steel for the ride. It was really cool to ride through knowing that a small bit of that ride once sat in our little shop. Plus, the ride was completely awesome! This was a short trip for us, due to the kids being in school. The next day we spent the day at Disney Springs where our little Princess had an appointment at the Bibiddi Bobbidi Boutique. This was an awesome experience for us. I was worried about what they would do with Kendra's hair since she is African American and it's more complex than your average white girl. We had her hair down for the trip. Once we arrived the stylist sprayed her hair with a mixture of conditioner and water and combed it right up into a bun. Kendra chose the hairstyle that came with the hair piece, so she LOVED slinging her hair around all day. My Mom purchased a Princess Elena dress from her ahead of time and we purchased the smallest package they had that included her hair, nails, and make-up.
We ate lunch at Disney Springs that day. Write that down- eat at Blaze Pizza at Disney Springs. Oh my goodness, it was fabulous! If you are trying to spread out your quick service meals, this is the place to go. We ordered 3 pizzas (all personal sized) and shared them between six of us. They even had an amazing "white" pizza that was made with white sauce, green peppers and onion. My picky Princess (who does not like pizza, or any other fast food) LOVED it, In fact, she asked at dinner time of we could eat there again.
We had such a fun time and can't wait to go back again. It's so fun to me to spend months planning and saving and then to actually get to BE THERE and enjoy my plans! This trip was one of our top favorites. We were sad to leave our college boy behind, but he's busy with his classes these days. We all had some fun suggestions for our next trip that I can't wait to see come to fruition. In the meantime, I'd like to help you plan some magic for YOUR family! Are you ready for a trip to Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland, Disney's Aulani Resort, a Disney Destination or a Disney Cruise? I'm your girl! Contact me at joyk@destinationsinflorida.com and let's get started on adding some magic into your life. Remember, the are only little once! God is so sweet to me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nothing is Impossible for God!

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" - Matthew 19:26

Riley was diagnosed with Pars Planitis in October 2009. Since then, has had five surgeries on his right eye. As a result of the disease and side effects of the surgeries, he has some permanent damage in his right eye. Without his glasses, he is legally blind. With his glasses, he is able to read, watch television and even drive. When Riley started this journey, we were told to expect that he would one day lose his sight in one or both eyes as a result of the disease. We were told to expect that he would be completely blind. 

Three years ago, Riley had his fifth surgery on his eye. 

Last Friday, we returned to Emory for a routine check-up. They took routine scans of the back of Riley's eyes. The doctor and the teaching fellow present both reviewed the notes, examined his eyes and looked at the new scans.
Over the years, many people have prayed for healing over these eyes. My sweet little Granny had reminders stuck on her bathroom mirror to remind her to pray every day. Our little cousin Aidan has continued praying for Riley's eyes every night. People quite literally around the world have prayed for Riley's eyes to be healed. We have been so thankful for these prayers.

Last Friday, we were told that they believe that the disease is no longer present in Riley's eyes. 


Before last week, we had never been given any indication that this disease would ever leave Riley's eyes. We sat there with his doctor last week and heard that there are a few cases where children grow out of the disease in their 20's. They believe that Riley is doing that now, at the age of 16. They have no way to guarantee that the disease will not present itself again, but his eye history over the past three years does not reflect a presence of the disease. His eye will always have the remains of damage caused by the disease in the past, but there is no evidence of it being present at this time. 

I truly wish that someone could have recorded those moments in that room. What an amazing testimony of God's healing power!

We are beside ourselves over this news! God is so sweet to us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


We had the sweetest time celebrating the marriage of one of our "big girls" to her main squeeze. Our tall boy even drove down from the mountains to attend his big sister's wedding. It was such a fun time and a great opportunity for us to snap a family picture while we were all dressed up.

Side note: We are all standing on the same level. Riley will soon be as tall as Jordan! Who will I call the "tall boy" then? Goodness me. 

These days are passing so quickly!

God is so sweet to me!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Firsts and Lasts

This is the LAST first day of Kindergarten for us.

This is the FIRST first day of school picture ever taken without his brother by his side.
(11th grade!)

This is the FIRST year with one of my littles sleeping in a different nest every night. 
Let's not talk about that. 
Unrelated: I'm thinking of returning to college. Those mountains are calling my name.

God has done so many amazing things for us that celebrating all of these firsts and lasts comes easy, but oh my goodness does a mama's heart hurt sometimes. How many sleeps until he comes back home? Looking forward to Fall football games this year!

God is so sweet to me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Camp Old Indian

We have all really enjoyed Riley being involved in Boys Scouts. Our local troop is led by an amazing veteran who not only loves Scouts, but he loves God and the boys. You can tell that he is genuinely concerned for the long-term success of each individual scout. He is a fun man to spend time around and the boys really admire him.

Last week, Riley spent the week at Camp Old Indian. The camp runs from Sunday through Saturday. As tradition goes, families can come up on Wednesday evenings to visit their scout, have dinner and enjoy a time around the campfire for some entertainment.

Most of our boys opt to leave the camp for dinner in exchange for some restaurant air conditioning. It's been hanging around 100 degrees each day and even in the mountans, the humidity makes things miserable. A trip to the local Pizza Inn fit the bill and the buffet filled up all of the hollow legs amongst the herd of boys we brought along. Mostly, we enjoyed hearing some camp stories and hugging our boy.

Riley is currently at the rank of Star. It is his goal to reach Eagle Scout by his 18th birthday. We are cheering him on!

God is so sweet to us.