Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Save the Starfish

Hurricane Irma hit Murrells Inlet as a tropical storm. The storm ended with lots of tornadoes coming inland from the ocean. At one point late in the night, there were ten tornadoes back-to-back.

Last night, we walked along the beach and found lots of conch shells. People gathered large bags of shells. This morning I walked along the beach and found lots of starfish. Marine scientists want to change the name to sea star because it's technically not a fish. The starfish is an echinoderm which is related to sand dollars and sea urchins. There are over two thousand species of sea stars. Most only have five arms but there are some species with even forty arms.

One unique quality of the sea star is its ability to regenerate limbs or sometime entire bodies from a severed limb. It's able to do this because most of their vital organs are located in their arms.

I felt sorry for so many starfish. I didn't know how long they could last on the sand. So, I began to find ways to return them to the water. It turns out I wasn't the only one concerned. There were other adults and even some homeschool children returning the starfish to the water.

Did it help? I don't know. But we felt like we were doing something beneficial.

Genesis 1:21 ESV So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Preparedness

A week ago, we started hearing Myrtle Beach, SC and the surrounding areas could possibly take a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. This is our first hurricane experience, and little did we know how it'd turn our lives upside down.

Each day the weather people told us they'd soon know the direction the hurricane would take. One day the governor declared health facilities needed to evacuate. Plans were made where my husband works to leave town. Buses were chartered and arrangements were made for where to take the older adults.

We bought water, rain boots, peanut butter, crackers, batteries, flashlights and other essentials like Clorox, matches, insect repellant, duct tape and tarps. Janet Ferguson shared with me how her family survived Katrina with no electricity for a week.

We considered what essentials to pack because we'd need to go with the older adults. At a time like this you really take stock in what's most important. A few items we wanted to take were our wedding pictures, the boys' baby pictures, and wedding pictures from the kids' weddings. My Bible with my notes was not going to get left behind either. We didn't think we needed to worry about flooding as much as wind damage from the hurricane. We lined up men to help get the windows boarded up.

Then Irma changed directions. Plans were adjusted accordingly. And Irma shifted again. At this point it seemed safer to stay put than to go west. Even the men we were going to pay to board up our windows called because they hated to waste our money boarding up when it wasn't necessary.

It's been an emotional week. I'm relieved for our area, but I'm also more sympathetic as I listen to stories of people from Florida evacuating.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Pslam 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Hebrews 13:5b-6 God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

I'm praying for all of you in Irma's path, and I continue to pray for those in Texas.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy Labor Day

Today I'd like to share a few quotes with you. Enjoy!

"While we are fighting for freedom, we must see, among other things, that labor is free." Woodrow Wilson

"Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy." Ralph Ransom

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." Elbert Hubbard

"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither." Alan Cohen

"There is no substitute for hard work." Thomas Edison

This next one made me laugh. By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day."
Robert Frost

I hope you have a safe and fun Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles and their nests are a big deal in South Carolina. Sea turtles spend the majority of their lives in the water. Females come ashore to lay their eggs. When rangers or volunteers spot a nest they do their best to protect it because the mothers return to the ocean.

Over the years, different cages were used to protect the nests. At last they came up with a wire nest crimped along the edges. Red fox used to be the primary predator of sea turtle nests in Huntington Park. The new cages kept them out. A few years ago, coyote came to the area and the red fox disappeared.

The other night as we walked the beach, three men with the park dug up one of the nests.

We learned nests are watched for seventy days for signs of hatchlings. At that point, the nests are dug up and studied. The nest we saw dug up showed some turtles did hatch. It's assumed they made their way to sea. It might have been a rainy night which would explain why there were no signs.

DNA testing over the years has revealed that there is one turtle who lays her eggs here every year. This one turtle only has a twenty percent hatchling rate. I find that both sad and fascinating at the same time.

I'd like to say thanks to the rangers and volunteers who work to protect the sea turtle population.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Preemptive Love Coalition

Today, I'm excited to have Scott Layton on my blog.

Earlier this year, my wife and I decided to make a move to Waco, TX. Although we love Kentucky, we knew that we wanted to take part in a new adventure together by moving somewhere that we hadn’t lived before. Through this move, Kelli got an awesome opportunity to be the Director of Operations for Baylor volleyball. While this was amazing, it left me scrambling as I wondered what I would now do for a job. Luckily the Lord provided for us, and I was put in touch with an organization called Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC).

PLC has rapidly expanded in the last year or two and was looking for a new accountant at the same time as I was looking for a job. Perfect timing! I’m sure many of you are like I was initially and have never heard of Preemptive Love Coalition. Well, over the next couple of paragraphs, I want to tell you what we are all about.

In short, Preemptive Love is a global movement of peacemakers changing the way we engage the world’s most polarizing conflicts by confronting fear with acts of love. This means that whether you are watching the events of blatant racism in Charlottesville, VA unfold on TV, or providing refugee aid to ISIS victims in Iraq, you love anyway and embrace conflict rather than run from it.

PLC also shows up. We want to be in the middle of coffee table conversations, conflict zones in Syria, and operating rooms providing lifesaving heart surgeries for Iraqi children. Wherever we are, we want to ask questions, risk failure, and be heard.

The final phase for PLC is getting out of the way. We want to provide food, water, and education for the oppressed, but we also want to bring peace, healing, and sustainable change to allow others to craft their own future. This means that when the time comes, we transition toward a mindset of relief to empowerment. We believe that local problems need local solutions.

This is just a brief breakdown of Preemptive Love’s mission. Our key areas of focus are heart surgeries for children, emergency relief, grants for small business owners, education, and peacemaking within the heart of war-torn Iraq and Syria.

Lastly, I want to state, as I am sure that you can clearly tell, that I am not a writer. Our team at PLC has some amazing writers producing incredible content that are official Preemptive Love Coalition material (this is not). I have only been with PLC for a short time, so if what is mentioned above intrigues you in the slightest, please check out our website at
or follow us on social media @preemptivelove and help wage peace with us.

Scott Layton

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Shem Creek, South Carolina

The first time I knew of the existence of Shem Creek was when I saw a book written by Dorothea Benton Frank. The name intrigued me.

On Friday, I picked my brother and his wife up from the Charleston airport. Tim had come up with a few places we could eat. When he said one was in Shem Creek, I knew that's where we needed to go.

I called ahead for a reservation, and I went expecting a magical place. I wasn't disappointed. We were seated outside next to the rail with a great view of the creek.

Dinner was delicious, the company was great, and for entertainment we got to see kayaks, boats and dolphins.

If you are in the Charleston, South Carolina area, treat yourself to a fun time at Shem Creek.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Flag of the Week

Today I'd like to share a few quotes with you by Peter Marshall. I'm not sure how he'd do in the world today with all of our "political correctness." But many of the books and sermons he wrote were amazing.

"May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right."

"Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for - because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything."

“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”

This next one made me laugh at first, and I briefly thought about the TV character Sheldon Cooper. But deep down, there's power in these words.

“Lord, where we are wrong, make us willing to change; where we are right, make us easy to live with.” I hope I'm always willing to change and grow for God's glory, and I hope I'm easy to live with whether I'm right or wrong.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

World Day Against Trafficking

My good friend, Janet Ferguson, touched on the tough topic of human trafficking in her novel, Tackling the Fields.

On July 30, Tackling the Fields is free on Amazon to bring awareness to the issue.

I know this is a tough issue to think about, and I asked Janet why she included it in her book. Here's her response:

"Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Additionally, women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, the report states."
I researched human trafficking for a small thread of my novel Tackling the Fields. I found out that trafficking is in our communities, and it's appalling.

​Though Tackling the Fields deals with tough issues, it is a clean story--a story of grace and healing, so don't be afraid to read it.

Don't forget, it's free on Amazon July 30th.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

I forgot how hot it can be living in the South. The best time to walk is early, and it doesn't take much to work up a sweat. But I find I don't mind so much. There's so much beauty around us, and I hate to complain about the heat.

I hope you're able to find time to slow down and maybe enjoy God's beauty during these hot days of summer.

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest." Psalm 55:6

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Castles in the Sand

I'm always delighted to spot a sandcastle as I walk along the beach. I know from experience they can take a lot of work. I also know they can be tons of fun.

The builder of this pyramid took the time to add steps.

Why do people build something that they know in a few hours the tide will wash away or some kid will stomp on and destroy?

Sometimes I think it's fun to put your creative juices to work with no long-term plan. Enjoy the moment of singing, writing or building a sandcastle.

Some people build with great detail, and others take the minimalist approach.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Whatever you do today, remember to work at it with all your heart whether it's existence is fleeting or eternal.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July. I hope you all find time to celebrate our great country.

Thanks to all the service people and veterans who've kept us safe over the years. Thanks also to the cops and fire departments and EMTs who work to protect us.

I love living in America and feel blessed to be here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

What's Happening in Waco

This past week I traveled to Waco, Texas. I've discovered a lot of my friends are taking vacations to Waco to see Magnolia and hope to run into Chip and Joanna.

I visited Waco to help Scott and Kelli move into their new home. Kelli is now on staff with Baylor University's Women's Volleyball team, and Scott has taken a job with Preemptive Love Coalition.

So, while others may vacation in Waco, I went to work. And I managed to squeeze in a little fun. If you visit Waco, we found a lot of fun restaurants off the beaten path. They were reasonably priced and delicious. We also found some fun little shops. And we discovered you can plant flowers in anything from an old porcelain sink to the back of a pickup truck.

I hope you have a great time if you visit Waco, and if you run into Scott and Kelli be sure to tell them hi.