Where we are now: Houston, TX

Hello from Houston! It’s my first time in Houston and Nick’s first in Texas,. The weather is Fall-like and the people are nice. We are here through the end of the week but I’m sure you want to know what we’ve done for the past 6 or so weeks, so here it is

After Cocoa Beach, it was on to our old stomping grounds in Delray Beach ,Florida. We spent a lot of time with friends, a little time in the sun, and Nick kept busy with work in the office. It was all around a great time and we were so happy to visit.

The first weekend we were back, we went to a friend’s wedding. We enjoyed visiting with our close friends, Lance and Dana, and it was such a fun way to spend our first weekend back.    

The second weekend was filled with more friends, Lisa and Corey, and drinks. The boys had beer, the girls had wine, and we all had a great time. We also had a lasagna dinner with the same friends and spent that Friday night with them at a happy hour as well. We love our Corey and Lisa time!

The next weekend we spent a lot of time in. Haha, so very Emily and Nick of us. We read a lot, I worked and cooked, we got a little sun, took naps, and watched shows. It was a good time.

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We ate our faces off at Thanksgiving and went home with legit three bags of leftovers. It was so good, I could eat Thanksgiving dinner every month. And we spent the holiday with Ami, a girl from my church and prayer group, and her family. It was a great time and we were blessed to have been invited. We went out with Dana and Lance that weekend to Cooper’s Hawk, a winery that Nick and I love and turned our friends into fans, too. The wine was delicious and the food was, too.

We couldn’t believe it but it was already the last weekend of our stay, and Nick’s work Christmas party! He works with Corey, so we spent the bulk of our night with them, again. And loved it. Check out the picture, family Christmas card or what? LOL, so fun!

These weekends were super fun and the time with our friends was priceless. I even cooked up a bunch of Chinese food and had everyone over for a feast. We love our Florida friends! However, as fast as we got there, it was time to go, and we were out!

Next stop was Destin Beach, Florida. I have never been before but we enjoyed it. We went to a couple of wineries, walked on the beach, and enjoyed a night in with shows, and cooking as it rained. As fun as it was, it was also very real, and really sad. We visited Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach, both of which were demolished during Hurricane Michael. What a great reminder to be thankful for what you have!

And now, Houston. We have been here for a couple days and will be here a couple more. San Antonio is next and on the way to Sun Lakes, AZ by Christmas to visit my Mom and step-dad, Randy, and see the new house.

I probably won’t update you again until after the holidays so have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I wish you a blessed 2019 and remember to keep working hard, and never stop praying! XOXO

Scripture Sunday: Ask Him and be Patient For The Answer

I realized lately that there are things happened, that seemingly keep happening and I wonder, “Why does this keep happening and what does it mean?” Instead of just wondering, I pray about it. Because really, who is going to give you a better explanation for His plan than God?

Some questions are silly like, “Why has there been so much elephant decor at the AirBnb’s we’ve been staying at?”

Some are more serious like, “Why are we following the hurricanes?” (Seriously, a month before we went on a preplanned trip to Myrtle Beach, hurricane, and now, about a month before we stay in the Florida panhandle, hurricane.)

There are so many things that happen in this life that I don’t understand. There are so many things in this life that I question. I try not to to obsess or let it be my every thought, but I do pray about it. I ask Him why, and I ask Him to show me, to tell me, and to explain to me what’s happening.

And sometimes I think, “God, hello! Why aren’t you answering me?!” But then I remind myself of John 13:7

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So that’s that.

You have to have faith, be patient, and sometimes, you even have to wait.

If you’re reading this, I just want to pray for you.

Dear God, Thank You for Your plan. Thank You answering us in the perfect timing. Thank You for all that you do for us. We are so lucky to have You on our side. You just want us to be happy, enjoy life, and come to You with everything. How awesome is that?! Thank you for reminding us to have faith and be patient. You are an awesome God! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Walking Dead Fans: Senoia GA is a Must See!

Do you love the Walking Dead as much as I do?

Did you know that the Walking Dead is filmed in Senoia, Georgia? Did you know that Georgia is the biggest filming location, for TV and movies, in the entire US?

While escaping from Irma, my husband and I stayed in Peachtree City, Georgia. The city sits a short 20 minute drive from the filming location of the Walking Dead and you bet we couldn’t wait to take the tour!

Want to see some pictures? Of course you do! Here they are:

Question 1
Remember this building? It’s the generals apartment up there!
Question 2
The Walking Dead store
Question 3
This is look from the back of the Governor’s apartment. Do you remember when he kissed Andrea back there?
Question 4
In front of this wall where Enid got separated from her parents.
Question 6
This house is where Carl sat on the roof and ate the can of pudding.
Question 7
Carl crossed the street to this house and puked in the front yard. It wasn’t scripted like that but because he ate the whole can, he got sick and the director loved the footage and kept it.
Question 5
Recognize that wall? This is Alexandria!
Question 8
This is a post office and the only building that refused to shut down during taping. To “block” it out, they parked a box car on the train tracks in front of it for the back of the scene.
Question 9
You can see this garden center in some scenes of the show.
Question 10
I know you know what this is! My favorite picture and coolest thing to see was the entrance to Alexandria!
Question 11
And these tracks led to Terminus. Don’t believe me? It’s because they edited in a tunnel in the show, something you cannot see in real life.

This Walking Dead tour is $25/person and about a mile walk around “the grounds.” It takes a couple of hours because the guide gives you insights, behind the scenes talk, and lots of spoilers along the way.

I love to travel and we actually found this (tour and city) while looking for an AirBnb, something else I love. Having to leave because of Irma was no fun but finding this place and touring the show set was awesome.

Also, we had lunch at Nic and Norman’s, a restaurant owned by Greg Nicotero & Norman Reedus. The food was delish, so go eat there after the tour, too.

Need snacks and goodies for your trip? Check out some of my favorites!

Coconut LaraBars are less than ten ingredients and so good!

These Pressed by Kind bars are kind of a new find and favorite for me, you have to try them!

Hurricane Irma: I Evacuated and This is What it was Really Like

IMG_20170904_205725After the disaster that was Harvey, when my husband told me they were gathering donations to send to Houston, I was all about it. I quickly grabbed shoes, socks, and clothes to give (as he didn’t have a full list of what could be donated..ugh, men!) When I talked to my BFF and she said, “Be careful, you might need those when Irma comes to you,” I just laughed it off. However, it was all too real.

You see, the first week of September 2017 was one of watching, and waiting. Irma’s track flip-flopped from coast to coast each morning that week and finally, on Thursday, we made plans to book an AirBnb in Georgia, and flee the state the following day.

This was no easy decision. And actually leaving the place you live, as if you may never return, is an extremely unsettling, and disturbing feeling. And I, myself, am no lover of FL. The heat for most of the year is torture, and driving there is worse. Even so, I didn’t want a hurricane to decimate the state, just as much as I didn’t want to have to pick just a few small items to stuff in the car. But, we decided it was what we had to do.

Here’s a timeline of that Thursday and Friday:

9:00AM THURSDAY MORNING As a remote freelancer, I did what I could to finish out Thursday (until mid afternoon anyhow) as a “normal” workday. Though mid morning we booked the AirBnb to “escape” the storm, so that was definitely not part of a normal day at work for me.

3:00PM I began to “ready” our place. I stripped the walls, took down any and all decorations and turned around all dressers, and desks, towards the wall.

7:00PM Nick installed all the hurricane shutters on the windows, and on our patio doors. I pray you’ve never had to do this, the feeling is beyond eerie, and even with a peaceful, calm outside, nothing is more unnerving than not being able to look outside. Or for that matter, glancing outside just to see the metal shutters. **shiver**

11:00PM I officially was finished with the house prep and Nick was fast asleep. With an alarm set for 3:30AM the next day, I laid down, far from “sleepy.” The last time I looked at the clock, it read 12:45AM.

3:30 AM FRIDAY MORNING We were up, “packed,” and driving by 4:20AM.  With what we thought was a pretty good “head start,” we listened to Google and jumped on the closest freeway to our house, the turnpike.

ABOUT 6AM We drove for a solid couple hours or so, but then hit a literal wall of cars. We sat there, at a dead stop, for 20 minutes. I urged Nick to turn around and go back to 95N (altogether about a 20 minute “detour.” SO worth it, and saved us tons of time..though that may sound hard to believe.)

12:56PM “Still driving, slow going,” I had text a friend.

2:00PM We finally made it to the FL/GA border. This drive usually takes less than 6 hours.. this day it took almost 10. Snapchat-1109588126

2:25PM Average speed 15 MPH. According to “GPS and directions” we had less than  hours to go.

7:07PM I was texting with my MIL and told her we were still driving but almost there. Yes, this was constant travel from 4:20AM until 7:30PM, about 15 hours when it was all said and done.

We finally got there! The weather was 65 and comfortable, and we were so glad to get out of the car. But that day was scary. The rest stops were overflowing and backed up. The oasis’ were controlled by police and many were out of gas. The traffic was horrendous and slow and you saw broken down cars littering the side of the road. It looked like scenes from the Walking Dead, a show I love but never want to experience.

Irma Stats:

Irma is considered the biggest storm to come out of the Atlantic, and the evacuation of FL, the largest American evacuation in history. I wouldn’t wish that feeling or a day of driving like that on anyone. It was a truly terrible.

Deciding What to Bring, Almost as Hard as What to Leave Behind

IMG_20170908_162409And what to bring? Ugh..this was sucky, too. Without kids or pets, Nick and I had only ourselves to think of. We each packed one suitcase, and each chose one “big thing.” His was his computers hard drive, mine was a tote of pictures. We brought a cooler with water, snacks, and other drinks. We had a bit more room so we both threw together a garbage bag, his had all clothes, mine was half clothes, half shoes.IMG_20170915_131042

Nick’s golf clubs came along for the ride and I brought my paperback books (the ones I’ve written and put into print,) as well as my essential, essential oils (of course!) That was pretty much it.

Could you (lightly) pack only a car, and leave your dwelling, possibly to return to rubble, without even a second thought? I thought and rethought about my choices many times.

So the storm hit hard in Miami and on the west coast, but certainly did damage to the east cost (where we’ve been living,) too. From our estimations, (and not knowing anyone in our complex,) our power was out for 5 or 6 whole days. We just got word last night, almost 7 days post evacuation, that our power was back on. With water restrictions, and a curfew, we have yet to go back.

Going Back

We will return Sunday, and getting our place put back together will be no small feat. The temperature will easily be 90-100 degrees in the apartment and we have a fridge/freezer combo, and a standing freezer that will all need to be gutted, cleaned, and replenished.

For the Love of it All

Easily the best part of all of this? People loving people. People helping people. Whether evacuated, “hunkered down,” or friends and family back home, love was in the air. And it was beautiful.

 

Must Have Homemade Hurricane Proof Recipe For Breakfast “Cookies”

Hurricane Matthew is here! Or will be tonight. Our ice maker has been working overtime and that’s just the start. Between the news, social media and the people in the street, there’s no shortage of tips and tricks to get you through this storm.

And here is one final tip- make these “cookies.” Packed with oats, bananas and peanut butter, these are full of nutrition and don’t have to be kept refrigerated. Good luck and stay safe!

Emmy’s Breakfast Cookiesimg_20161005_174348

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I use vanilla)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mash the bananas to start. Then add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place spoonfuls of cookies on it. Cook for about 15 minutes on 350 or until the edges begin to brown.

Tip: Add chocolate chunks or butterscotch chips to this base recipe to make it yours.