Monthly Archives: May 2015

05/31/15

A Day in Charleston…

While my family & I were vacationing on the beaches of Hilton Head Island, we took a day trip to Charleston, about a 2 hour drive North. It’s one of my mom’s favorite places in the entire world. In fact, Dad has surprised her on a few anniversaries with a spontaneous weekend trip there.

A day in Charleston is like a day out of history.

Each time I walk the streets, see the sites, inhale the smells, I feel transported to a different time & place.

Is that just me?

It is both simultaneously historical, modern, and breathtakingly beautiful.

I love the Low Country.

Its people. Its food. Its lifestyle. Its fun.

So, come on. Spend a day in Charleston with me…

The markets.

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 007

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 003

I could walk them for hours.

All those handmade goods, clothing, artwork, and all the sweetgrass baskets! It’s almost too many to make a decision.

In fact, I was quite distressed for a bit there, not certain if I wanted square, rectangle, circle, or if I wanted handles or no handles. Oh, decision making is hard sometimes.

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 004-001

Until it isn’t. And I knew.

Charleston basket

Meet sweet Eloise, one of the kindest ladies I have come to meet & the artist of this gorgeous sweetgrass basket I purchased. It’s my first one and I was so excited.

Mom purchased a bread basket well over 25 years ago and it looks as good now as they day she bought it. Can’t wait to serve my family with this basket for years to come.

This was a sweet memory. Thank you Eloise for your gift!

And then there is Rainbow Row of course. Potentially the most photographed corner of Charleston proper. And rightfully so.

Charleston 1

But, I suppose what is most striking to me are the homes.

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 041

The ironwork, the windowboxes, the porches, and breezeways.

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 033

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 014

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 047

Charleston 2

I picture myself sitting out there with a book in my hand and a glass of tea nearby with condensation pooling around it. It’s like living in a Southern fantasy.

And what do us Southern belles eat for lunch you ask?

shrimp & grits

I would think this is somewhat obvious, but Shrimp & grits of course!

This spectacular platter smothered in spicy tasso gravy was from Magnolia’s, one of our favorite restaurants in the city. Good every single time.

A trip to Charleston could never be complete without a horse & buggy ride, and although we have taken countless of them over the years, we saddled up with the two mules leading the way and went for a ride to the Battery.

Charleston 3

Battery Park. Just lovely.

Sloan does Charleston March 2013 042

And then the storms came… oh boy, did they!

Thunder, lightning, torrential rain. NO more pictures of the back half of our tour. Too wet to photograph, that’s for sure.

——————————————————————————————————-

So, share with me, what are some of your favorite Southern getaways?

Charleston is certainly right up there among mine!

Where should I go next?!?

xoxo…

Share
05/27/15

Stop Reading your Bible

Did I get your attention?!?

Interesting title, eh? And it’s an inspiring and personally challenging devotional from Lysa Terkeurst.

Stop Reading your Bible 

“Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.” Psalm 119:34 (NLT)

Lysa TerKeurst

“I have a request today: Stop reading your Bible.

Does that shock you? Relieve you? Make you angry at worst? Curious at best?

Read on and see what I mean by this request.

There have been many days in my Christian journey when God was reduced to something on my to-do list. Somewhere along the way, I picked up an unwritten checklist of sorts explaining what “good Christians” are supposed to do:

Pray.

Read your Bible.

Go to church.

Don’t cuss.

Be nice.

Being the rule-following girl I am, I subscribed to the good things on that list and waited with great expectations to receive the zap of contentment and happiness good Christian girls are supposed to exude.

But then I felt something was wrong with me. I still felt restless. I still reacted in anger. I still felt a bit hollow.

I was going through all the motions but didn’t feel connected to Jesus. Others around me seemed very connected. They would talk of being “moved by the Spirit.” They would hear from God Himself. They would clap their hands and shout “Amen” in the middle of a sermon that sounded like Greek to me.

I often felt like a weightless soul grasping at the air, hoping to somehow snag this Jesus that was just out of reach. Have you ever been there?

Have you ever sat in a church service watching everyone else eagerly flip open their Bibles to the exact right passage, while you were left sweating because you didn’t have a clue how to find what they were reading?

Have you ever walked out of church watching everyone else smile and shake hands and seem so gentle while you mentally beat yourself up for throwing the orange juice carton across the kitchen that very morning?

Suddenly this nagging sense creeps in that you don’t belong — that you’ll never get it — that you don’t have what it takes to be a Christian. That’s where I was. I lived there for a long time until someone challenged me to stop simply reading my Bible because it was a thing on my Christian checklist. Instead, they challenged me to experience God. To know God.

In other words, I needed to look at the words in the Bible as a love letter. God’s love letter to a broken-down girl. A love letter not meant to simply be read … but a love letter meant to be lived.

I won’t lie. It took a while. It took many days of sitting down with my Bible while praying gut-honest prayers. I told God I wasn’t connecting. I told Him I wanted to understand, just like the psalmist in our key verse, Psalm 119:34.

I asked Him to help me. I begged Him to help me. Finally, one verse came alive to me. I literally felt moved when I read it. I think I read it 100 times that day. I memorized it and thought about it all day long. All week long. Maybe all month long.

I was overjoyed. I had a verse. A verse where Jesus spoke tenderly and clearly and specifically to me. It was Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV)

Slowly, I added more verses. Day by day. Chapter by chapter. And eventually my Bible became my greatest treasure, my love letter.

Now, every day I open up God’s Word with great expectation and intentionally look for my verse for that day. Usually one verse among the many I read during my devotion time grabs my heart and I know it’s meant just for the day ahead. And then I attempt to live that verse out in some way, that very day.

When I make the connection between what happens in my life that day and why I need that verse, I experience God. I see Him being active in my life and I become even more deeply aware of His constant presence.

I’m sure some Bible scholars would probably take issue with my simplistic approach. But it sure has helped me throw fewer orange juice cartons across the kitchen.

And having less thrown cartons sure seems like a step in the right direction to me.

So, back to my original statement. Stop reading your Bible. In other words, stop simply reading it because you have to cross it off the Christian checklist.

Read it with great expectations of connecting more deeply and living more authentically with God.”

Truth for you today… 

Psalm 119:130, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (NIV)

Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is flawless …” (NIV)

Father God, thank you for relationship. Thank you that the veil was torn and you allow us to approach you directly. Thank you that this life, this journey with you is so much more than a checklist. I don’t just simply want to check a box, attend a service, speak a wrote prayer, I want to read your Word, love your Word, and live your Word daily. I ask that you give me the strength to face each day, the courage to be more like you, and the wisdom to understand your ways and your timing. I love you, and thank you for loving me. Amen. 

Share