A Different Kind of Monday Motivation - Slow Down and Water the Flowers!

Seventeen years ago today, on a bright Monday morning much like this one, my Grandma Dot’s life on this earth was over and she and flew away to Jesus. 

It still makes me cry when I relive the suddenness of it all, the wailing sobs of my Pap-Paw, her husband of 67 years, and the regret that still haunts me for not spending more time with her that weekend. I had taken the Monday off and I was planning to spend the day with her in the hospital, except she passed around 6:00 that morning. 

I had spent the weekend planting flowers, trying to work on curb appeal of the home we were about to list. I can still hear her voice reminding me, “they need watering...” (She and Pap-Paw lived up the street from us and he would often walk down and rescue my parched outdoor plants.) 

Madison was in first grade and Jackson was about to turn 4. She loved her great-grandchildren and never missed a chance to see them! Unfortunately, she never got to meet Bryson. How he would have entertained her! From an active and talkative toddler (she loved to talk to people) to all his time spent on the baseball field, she would have eaten it all up! She loved watching baseball on TV! Even kept a little notepad of players, numbers, & stats! ️

She researched family history before delving into one’s ancestry was cool.  I wish I had asked more questions and written down all the stories. She loved to play the organ and created many beautiful items doing her handwork. If she crocheted you a Christmas stocking, it meant you were officially in our family. ️

I was her only grandchild and we talked often, but I should have made time to visit more. I suppose most of us feel a certain amount of guilt when we experience death. We wish we had done more and said more. 

If you’re blessed to still have your grandparents, slow down and make time for them. Time really is fleeting and life is truly a vapor. None of us are promised tomorrow. It all sounds clichĂ© until it becomes real.

So today, as I celebrate her life and reflect on what I learned from her death, I'll leave you with her favorite passage of Scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV):

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.



This Monday and every day, let us love the people in our life well, and slow down enough to remember to water the flowers! (As you can see from the photo above, I still need reminding!)

Christy


© Christy Long 2021. All Rights Reserved.

 


The Perfect Mother Daughter Trip - Charleston, South Carolina!

 


 “A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.” 


 

 





Not sure who originally said it, but I agree!

I had the best 3-day mother daughter trip with my adult daughter! We went to Charleston, SC and made the most of our 2-nights and 3-days. Sharing the details of our fun itinerary for  anyone planning a perfect girls’ weekend or mother daughter  trip!


Day One

We left early in the morning to arrive at Folly Beach, SC and get a few rays to help add a little color to our pasty skin! We found a public parking spot and had a delicious lunch at Snapper Jack’s. My daughter, Madison, had sushi, the Snapper Jack roll and I had the blacked mahi tacos! They were delish and we enjoyed eating with a view!

Then we headed to the beach to catch a few rays. It was Spring Break, so it was crowded but a beautiful day!

Check in time at our hotel, The Grand Bohemian was 4pm, so we stayed at the beach until 3:15, just enough time to get a little sun-kissed! We drove into Charleston, checked in, and quickly freshened up before heading to dinner. The hotel was beautiful and in a great location in the historic district. They display an impressive art gallery, although the art choices in our room were a bit unsettling. Thankfully, I was too tired both nights to lose any sleep over the creepy eyes over my bed.

Lunch or dinner at Fleet Landing is a must do! It is fabulous! (And reasonable, comparatively to some of the higher end restaurants.) We ate outside overlooking the harbor and ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes as an appetizer, then ordered the special tile fish, blackened with tomato vinaigrette sauce. I chose asparagus and Charleston red beans and rice as my sides. It was a perfect dinner!

Too full for dessert just yet, we walked around the historic district before stopping in at Kaminsky’s. Madison ordered the bourbon pecan pie with ice cream and I had the coconut cream pie! Yum!


We were honestly exhausted, and I am a little embarrassed to admit that we turned in early (her idea, she's teacher! need I say more?), watching Friends on TV with the sleep timer.

Day Two

We did get a relatively early start the next day. We walked to Toast for breakfast/brunch. There was a wait, as expected, so we walked around the corner to Bitty & Beau’s for a cup of coffee. If you’ve never been, you must go! They have an incredible story and new locations continue to pop up all over the Southeast! I love supporting their business! Check them out.

Not long after we finished our coffee, our table was ready at Toast. They have a variety of unique brunch items and assorted mimosas, by the glass or a carafe.

I ordered the Spinach Oysters Benedict (a new menu item), which was superb!



Madison ordered one of their classics - Eggs Meeting Street.

It was a lovely Spring day and we set out to the Market, The Black Dog store (one of my favorites), and then King Street to browse and do a little shopping. We stumbled upon this unique bookstore on King Street, Blue Bicycle Books, with an impressive collection of old, used, and rare books as well as the usual Charleston historical books and ghost stories. I spotted a 1936 edition of Margaret Mitchell’s, Gone with the Wind for a mere $250.

Per my son's-in-law recommendation, we stopped in Market Street Sweets to try the River Street Pralines. They were soooo good! I may have made another stop before we left town so we would have plenty to share when we returned home! 

We strolled back to our hotel early to mid-afternoon and decided that we were slightly hungry but did not want to ruin our 5:15 dinner reservation, so at the recommendation of the hotel valet, we crossed the street to the Renaissance Hotel and enjoyed the perfect snacks at Handy & Hot. We shared the tomato pie and a different but delicious salad with broccoli, peanuts, buttermilk, olives, raisins and pickled onions. Sounds weird, I know, but trust me, it was amazing! Sadly, I don’t think we took a picture. We were too busy devouring it!

We returned to the hotel and took a power rest before heading out to The Darling Oyster Bar

We started with a small Seafood Plateau... 

Then we split a Lobster and King Crab roll and fries with their homemade Oyster Bay seasoning.

Our Nightly Spirits ghost tour was scheduled for check-in at 7:15 so we walked through Marion Square and took a couple of photos before arriving at Henry’s on the Market to meet our group and begin our ghostly adventure! The tour was definitely a highlight of our trip! We had a wonderful tour guide (pirate) and he was super knowledgeable about all the spooky hauntings of the Holy City. He passed out glow sticks to each of us so he could keep up with us and we are wearing them on our heads in the picture below. 

We eventually ended up at the circular church and graveyard with several other dark and chilling spots we visited on the way!


We were ready to stay out late since we had rested up the night before, but perhaps because it was a Tuesday night (I kept forgetting) or because we are still in a pandemic, or maybe because there were lots of families vacationing for Spring Break, the town seemed to close early. Madison and I were the only ones out walking back to our hotel just before midnight. I don't think we were breaking any curfews, but it did feel a little eerie. Again, we fell into bed and slept like babies! The creepy eyes did not give me nightmares, even after all the ghost stories.

Day Three

The next morning, we checked out and parked in a public parking deck. I was so happy to grab a sidewalk table at my favorite cafĂ© in the French Quarter, Gaulart & Maliclet|Fast & French!


French pressed coffee, fresh croissants, and an incredible location! And of course, wonderful company! This is always a must visit in Charleston!

Before heading out of town, we had to take a stroll along the Battery, Rainbow Row, and stop for a photo op by the Pineapple Fountain!



 

Sullivan’s Island was our next stop. Neither of us had ever been there and it was very different from the crowded and commercialized Folly Beach. We had to drive around a bit before finding a parking space. Apparently, this is a beach the locals frequent and you have to park along the side of the road in the grass. They actually have a rule that your tires must be completely off the road. Once we settled on our beach spot, it was a refreshing place to sit back and rest a bit before the long drive home.

Sullivan's Island is home to Fort Moultrie, an unusual lighthouse, and tributes to Edgar Allen Poe!


Apparently, Edgar Allen Poe enlisted under a different name (Edgar Parry) and was stationed at Fort Moultrie, pictured above. (His intriguing story had been shared in our ghost tour the night before.) There is a Poe library there and Poe’s Tavern, where we had dinner on the way out.

It was a fun place to eat and if you’re a fan of Poe’s work (like me), the menu items (mostly unique burgers) are named after his short stories and poems. 


I ordered The Sleeper – a burger with roasted garlic blue cheese and buffalo fried shrimp.

This mom and daughter certainly made the most of a two-night trip and crammed as much in those three days as possible! Beaches, great food, shopping, and history! I hope we can continue this tradition. Life is short. Make time to spend it with those you love and do fun things!

Christy 



© Christy Long 2021. All Rights Reserved. 


 


How to Choose a Quality and Safe CBD

 


Choosing the Best CBD Oil

Many people may not realize that hemp is used in phytoremediation. 

Definition of phytoremediation (as defined by Merriam-Webster.com):

the treatment of pollutants or waste (as in contaminated soil or groundwater) by the use of green plants that remove, degrade, or stabilize the undesirable substances (such as toxic metals)
From soil loaded with metal to radionuclide-laden water, researchers hope phytoremediation with an array of species will prove a cheap way to clean man-made messes at mining, nuclear, and industrial sites.— Kathryn Sergeant Brown



That's why it's so important to know where your hemp or CBD comes from. 

80% of the hemp in the United States is imported from China where it's grown to clean the air of heavy metals, toxins, and pollutants. 

The CBD industry is also unregulated. That means that anyone can bottle just about anything and stick a white label on it and sell it as CBD without any oversight from the Food & Drug Administration. 

Sounds a little scary, right? But it's perfectly safe and beneficial as long as you know what to look for before choosing your product.


Things to Consider Before Purchasing:



Certificate of Analysis - A company with integrity will provide a certificate of analysis showing exactly what is inside the bottle in order to prove the purity of the oil and the amount of CBD.


Clean Soil - Look for a company that grows their hemp in a clean and controlled environment. 



USDA Certified Organic - Peace of mind means everything. This seal ensures that the hemp is grown free from herbicides and pesticides, the cleanest available.


Carbon Dioxide Extraction - The most environmentally friendly, cleanest form of extraction, CO2 preserves the CBD better than solvents used in other methods.


Hemp Flower - Choose a product that uses the flower rather than "ariel parts" which include fibrous parts of the hemp plant where the CBD is less effective.


Clear/Golden Color - This indicates a pure and quality form of CBD. Being  clear, it shows that all the by-products have been removed during a high level processing.


Coconut Oil - Also known as MCT oil, it can carry more CBD molecules and is a better delivery oil to carry more CBD to our systems for absorption.


Many CBD "gummies" are made with lots of fillers. 

USDA Nano Emulsification Jellies are available and unique to the marketplace.

Nano Emulsification - Water soluble delivery that creates better bioavailability using nanotechnology. Because our bodies are made of water, this cutting edge method increases the absorption rate up to 10 times more than other gummies. (Think less mg needed to have the same effect.)

I hope you have found this information helpful. I would love to help you choose the right CBD product for you. Click to visit my online store below and feel free to contact me with questions.

Christy's CBD Store














Long Story Short (God's Promises When Your Fairy Tale Fails)

All good fairy tales begin with, “Once upon a time,” right?

And like most little girls and the famous line from Pretty Woman, I wanted the fairy tale, too. 

When I first got married in 1995, the wedding seemed like the perfect ending to a fairy tale. Even at the end of the wedding video there was a little Cinderella carriage that concluded the recording as if to imply the prelude to a lifetime of happily ever after. However, less than five years later, with a 2 ½ year old daughter and 7 months pregnant with my second child, our marriage was ending.

It was probably the worst time in my life. I could not keep food down, my nerves were a wreck, I was so worried and stressed that I had trouble sleeping and would lie in the bed in a fetal position and shake. As a young Christian (I had recognized my need for knowing Jesus in a personal way and was baptized the previous summer), my mom suggested that I ask Jesus to wrap His arms around me at night, so I tried it. I would imagine that Jesus was holding me in His arms as I drifted off to sleep and it truly helped to calm me down so I could rest.

The day my mother drove my baby boy and me home from the hospital was the day I knew for certain my marriage was over. Separation papers were eventually signed, and I took on more debt than I should have because I wanted to stay in the home with my babies.

I did plenty of things wrong during this time and I take responsibility for my part in the downfall of the marriage, but I never wanted to be divorced. I still believe God can heal any marriage if both spouses are willing, but after counseling and lots of prayer we became another statistic. 

However, during this trial I learned to trust more in Jesus and read my Bible. I began to cling to His promises.

Promises that He would provide.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV) 

Promises that He would work all things for my good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Promises that He would restore my life again.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. Psalm 71:20-21 (NIV)

Promises that He would give me hope and a future (once I got serious about seeking Him first).

“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) 

Several months later, the Lord was preparing my heart for the work He was about to do in my life. I had been attending a singles’ Bible fellowship class at my church and we had been studying the Book of Ruth. It got my attention because of the fairy tale like story of how God provided for Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi after they lost their husbands. Ruth was a woman of noble character and she was obedient to God. Boaz, her prince charming, was a kinsman-redeemer and they were married. There are so many important parts to this story – they are the ancestors of Jesus!

What stood out to me at the time was how God took care of Ruth and worked all things for her good. Like Boaz was her kinsman-redeemer, God redeems us with His unfailing love (See Psalm 44:26). And The Message version of the Book of Ruth begins with the words, “Once upon a time…”

God is our King in this fairy tale of life and His happily ever after is His unfailing love for us!

Soon God put my earthly prince charming in my path. Not too many weeks after a long walk on the beach in heartfelt prayer asking Him to send someone to love me and my children if it was His plan. If it was not His plan, I had prayed that He would help me to raise them alone. It was my moment of surrender.

Mark (my boyfriend of 2 ½ years in junior high/high school) contacted me not too long after that. Instead of riding a white horse, he was driving a white Chevy pickup. It didn’t take long before we knew it was meant to be.

We were married a little over a year later (2002) and our son Bryson was born on Father’s Day 2006.

Being a blended family is not always easy, but I feel very blessed. I believe that with God’s help, we have made the best of things.

So much time has passed since I clung to those promises I read in the Bible. It almost feels like it all happened to someone else. God kept those promises and He proved faithful in working everything out. He provided in ways that only He could, and in ways I could never have imagined, He worked all things for my good. And he did restore my life again.

He also healed my heart and helped me forgive. 

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

If you would have told me even a decade ago that we would be going to the same church as my ex-husband and his family, never would I have believed it! And the weird thing is, is doesn’t seem all that weird. God continues to amaze me with His sense of humor and unexpected plot twists as He continues to write my story.

It is my prayer that if you have read to the end, that you will trust God with whatever is going on in your life. His plan is always better than anything we could have asked or imagined. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen! (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

I pray that God will work in your situation in a powerful way and give you a story to be used for His glory!