marnie and dave on beach vacation

Our Beach Vacation to Apalachicola, Florida


carrabelle beach floridaIn my last post, I wrote about our beach vacation to Florida's Forgotten Coast which included Carrabelle Beach, Apalachicola Bay, and St. George Island, Florida. For anyone interested in traveling to a quaint part of Florida that isn't so crowded, this is the place to go. Carrabelle Beach is like stepping back in time to the 1940's-1950's.

The weather was 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit while were there (April 20-23). It was cloudy, rainy at times, and incredibly windy. The locals said it isn't normally that windy. A storm blew in Saturday night.

We stayed at a little house in Lanark Village that Dave found on AirBnB.com called Adam's Song Cabin. It is a cozy little place, a bit further from the beach than we anticipated, but a good rental rate. The bathroom was super tiny, but the rest of it was plenty big enough for the two of us.

Places to See and Eat in Apalachicola Bay Florida

The food was some of the best I've ever had on a vacation. They catch shrimp, oysters and crayfish fresh in Apalachicola Bay, so the prices are reasonable and the food is delicious.

For those who are interested in the places we went and where we dined, here's a recap.

Restaurants

 

Ellis Brothers Pecans

Taste Testing at Ellis Brothers Pecans

Ellis Brothers Pecans in Vienna, Georgia - Okay, this isn't a restaurant, but it fed us well. We stopped here on our way from Ringgold, Georgia toward Tallahassee. We were there a little after lunch time. Ellis Brothers lets you sample dozens of types of pecans and peanuts. By the time we sampled it all, we were too stuffed to bother stopping anywhere for lunch. We hit Ellis Brothers on our way down and our way back. We stocked up on our favorites - dark chocolate amaretto pecans and dark chocolate grand mariner pecans. I also got some dark chocolate covered espresso beans. Yum!

Food, Glorious Food in Tallahassee, FL  - On our way to the coast, we met one of my clients for dinner at this restaurant. I had the crab cake, and it was excellent. Dave said the alligator was "okay." I really liked the Key Lime Pound Cake, but Dave didn't think it was as good as a good Key Lime pie. He considers Key Lime Pie a sacred dessert you just don't mess with and referred to this dessert as a flavored pound cake.

Red Pirate Family Grill and Oyster Bar, Eastpoint, FL - Dave's shrimp and baked oysters were fantastic. They'd brought the shrimp in from the boat at 11 am, and we were eating it around 2 pm. I had stuffed crabs. They were okay, not as good as the ones at Food Glorious Food the night before. Whereas Food Glorious Food only gave me one stuffed crab, I got about 5 of them at the Red Pirate. I wished later I'd gotten a plate with two different types of fish rather than getting all stuffed crab. Dave was nice enough to share some of his oysters with me. I'd never had oysters before - had always been too scared to try them. These baked ones with garlic and mozzarella on top were fantastic.

Lynn's Quality Oysters - Dave and I shared fresh boiled shrimp, crayfish and oysters marinara. All of it was good. I'm not really into crayfish so I focused on the oysters, which were delicious. We sat outside overlooking the bay. It was windy out, but we sat far enough back so it wasn't a problem.

Up the Creek Raw Bar - I had the flounder and it was wonderful. Dave had the gumbo. He didn't rave about it but he loved the bite of my flounder that he had. We sat outside overlooking Apalachicola Bay.

Pirate's Cove in Carabelle, FL - I had grilled blue crab claws and Dave had shrimp. Both were very good. The service was friendly and we closed down the place. We had a good view of the bay, but the storm was coming in so we sat inside. Given how cloudy and dark it was, there wasn't much to look at.

Tropical Trader Shrimp in Panacea FL - We stopped here for lunch on our way back home. We ordered a pound of boiled shrimp as an appetizer. It was excellent. Dave had the shrimp tacos, which he seemed to enjoy, but said wasn't as good as ones he'd had in California. I had the bacon wrapped crab-stuffed shrimp. It was very good, but honestly I liked the plain boiled shrimp better. Probably could have done without the extra calories.

Places We Went

We stopped in a little Chamber of Commerce near Carrabelle Beach, Florida. The lady there was incredibly friendly and helpful. She pointed us toward the best places to see and eat.

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee, FL. This was a beautiful botanical garden. We spent a couple hours there walking around. Unfortunately, everything bloomed early and there wasn't much left in bloom like it normally would have been at this time of year. Because the blooms were off, they only charged us $6 total for both of us to get in.

marnie - bmw z3 at classic car show

Marnie and "Thelma," her BMW Z3 at the Classic Boat and Car Show in Apalachicola, FL

Apalachicola Classic Boat and Car Show in Apalachicola, FL - We started off our first full day at this show. We were driving my 1999 BMW Z3 that Dave bought me for a wedding present. It fit right in at this classic car show. We weren't officially entered, but we easily could have entered our car.

Orman House - After the boat and car show we walked around the Orman House. The caretaker has been gathering family heirlooms from the Orman family and is completely immersed in the lore of this old house. He is incredibly friendly and seems to thoroughly enjoy his work. Built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, this antebellum home overlooks the Apalachicola River and was used for both business and social gatherings. Orman was a cotton merchant and businessman in Apalachicola from 1834 to the 1880s. Interestingly enough, Orman's son fought at the Battle of Chickamauga which happened just across the creek from our property.

Looking for sand dollars at carrabelle beach florida

Dave looking for sand dollars and sea shells at Carrabelle Beach, Florida

Carrabelle Beach - I'm not sure it would always be this way, but we may have seen 3 other people on the beach while we were there Monday. No one was there Saturday morning when we stopped. A little shop owner told me it's only busy in the town during Spring Break and the Summer. As I said, the beach is like stepping back in time to the 1940's and 50's. I found a bunch of tiny little sand dollars that were caught around the tree trunks on the beach.

St. George Island - Beautiful sugar sands. Busier than Carabelle Beach, but not too bad. The wind was so loud we couldn't hear anyone else around us. We got a great nap on the beach Saturday. Sunday when we went back, it was cloudy and very windy with hardly anyone else there. We used our chairs as a windbreaker and I laid down and got a nap while Dave went bird watching.

Tate's Hell State Park - We stop here to walk around for a little bit. It was far enough away from the ocean that the wind wasn't as bad and we were really needing a break from the wind by Sunday afternoon. A few minutes after we started down the trail a snake slithered across the path in front of Dave and that totally creeped me out. Needless to say we didn't stay there long.

You'll find more photos from our trip on my Facebook page and on Instagram

St. George Island Lighthouse and Beach Vacation

St. George Island and Lighthouse

Apalachicola Dining and Sites


divine love

The More Breathtaking the Vistas, the More Arduous the Climb


Several years ago I set in motion a new trajectory for my life. I caught the vision of something wonderful and idealistic and I began working toward it — making major lifestyle adjustments and tough choices. In time, my life became anything but idealistic. It was hard and the further I went, the more that vision seemed like a pipe dream. I doubted the inspiration of it.

In late 2015, I thought things were looking up again. In a blog post from early 2016 that I was reading last night, I was happy and thought I’d found what I was looking for. I had a peaceful loving home. Sure, I would have admitted at the time that it wasn’t the magnificent thing I’d envisioned earlier. But it was good. Life was simple, easy, restful. It was a world better than what I’d had. I was grateful and I loved unconditionally.

Little did I know at the time that everything would fall apart a year later — even more than it already had before. As C.S. Lewis wrote, I “thought [I was] being made into a decent little cottage: but [God] is building a palace.”

Divine Love

As God has ripped out the old foundations this year, He’s taught me something important about Divine Love. Nothing is purely ideal. Nothing is strawberries and cream. The magnificent vision He gave me is unfolding in a way I could never begin to deny, and there are challenges along with it. Funny how I never daydreamed about those. We never do, unless we’re in worry mode.

Had I not been through this difficult 2017-road I would not be willing to embrace the challenges that accompany the blessings. I would have assumed that if it was “meant to be” it would be seamless and easy. It is fun; it’s exciting; it’s wonderful. Yes, it’s all of that; and it’s also one of the most challenging roads I’ve chosen to take in life.

There have been times I’ve asked myself, “Do I still want this vision?” God has told me I’m free to walk away from it and do something different. But what kind of coward would I be to turn down this fabulous adventure, simply because the climb has some rocks and boulders to navigate along the way? Just because it requires letting go of old baggage, old habits, old fears, and inaccurate beliefs?

The mediocre path is the easy one. The one with the breathtaking vistas and delightful encounters is the one that tests our mettle… in fact, the more exquisite the blessing, the more arduous the climb.

 

Energy shifting programs


composing music

Traveling Light Day 18: Composing Music


I had a dream just before waking this morning. There was a melody playing. A man was standing beside me whom I had a loving connection with. I don’t know him, but I do know who he represents (I’ll explain that in the backstory section below).

The man pointed to a piece of paper on which were typed four lines of lyrics. I didn’t have time to really read a couple phrases before I awakened abruptly.

I immediately hopped up from bed for a pen and paper. As I went to write, the only thing that lingered were a few words and the melody.

I jotted down the words I could remember and turned on my phone’s voice recorder to capture the melody. Even though the lyrics weren’t there, I started writing. Within about 30 minutes I had almost the whole song written.

I had to take a break to do a leadership meeting, but the entire song came together within about an hour.

I’ve had lyrics come to me before while I’m awake or dreaming. At other times I’ll have a melody come in a dream. But I’ve never had words and music come simultaneously.

The song is a man and woman duet called, “You Were The Dream.” I recorded an a cappella version of me singing it and typed the words and sent both  to my cousin Jody. I have picked out the melody on the piano, and I know it’s the key of G, but I think it would sound better accompanied on the guitar.

The Backstory

Back in 2010 I caught the vision of the ideal companion for me. I wasn’t sure if my husband at the time would be that person or whether someone new would come into my life.

I began what I called my S.A.M. experiment (Spot A Mercy). Unknowingly, these were my first attempts at being aware of the Divine Law of Compensation. I had a list of things my “SAM” would do and how he would treat me. Whenever someone did something on the list or something happened that met one of those items, I’d document it. I kept a journal of how these things showed up in my life.

Eventually my first marriage ended, and I began a quest to find my real live SAM. When I finally found someone I thought was him, it didn’t work out.  I fell hard for this man and I honestly gave up on my quest for SAM when he broke my heart.

I told God, “You pick. I obviously don’t know what I’m looking for or what’s good for me.” Then my second husband came along. I never felt for certain he was SAM and at that point I didn’t worry a lot about whether he was or not.

I felt Sam was a figment of my imagination. No man could be this Sam. So I gave up and decided to be satisfied with whomever God wanted to bring. My last husband did have a lot of SAM qualities and he had other good qualities I never thought to ask for. When I prayed about marrying him, I got what I felt was a clear answer to do so. I did, and of course, that all ended mysteriously 18 months after we were married.

The song is about my “Sam”… about living for him, giving up on him, and him returning to my life in physical form. The man beside me in the dream was Sam, and the lyrics he gave me were his words to me, assuring me he is still out there and on his way.

When I’m home I’ll have Jody play the guitar and sing it with me. I would really like to record a CD at some point. Jody has a recording studio and does a great job with music.

If I do a CD, I have a start on the lyrics for three other songs and one of them is set to the melody of a popular hymn. The other two need to be tweaked and set to music.

Music Is the Gift in the Tragedy

Had my mother not died simultaneously with my husband’s rejection, I would not have had the opportunity to dive into music like I have. I went to stay with my dad to help him through the transition and, ended up living there. My cousin Jody lives down the road from my dad so he started inviting Daddy and me to do music with him a couple evenings each week.

Jody has opened up a whole new world of music for me, teaching me a lot about creative expression. I had only played whatever notes were in front of me until about 4 years ago. After my first divorce, I started playing the piano extemporaneously. Then, during the three short months after my mother’s death, I learned to play chords, sing in public, and gleaned ideas for writing lyrics and music. It’s been a priceless experience.

I have always wanted to be able to feel comfortable singing a solo and composing music. It wasn’t something I ever told anyone, just a longing of my heart which I figured I didn’t have the creativity to explore. Had I not been forced out of my nest, I never would have realized I had wings to fly musically. I might have died with the music still inside me.

In this video (which is Day 42 of the Light the World: Build the Kingdom 90 Day Challenge), I sing the song I wrote today and talk about how it’s a fulfillment of one of my hearts’ desires.


tammy ward's messenger mastermind

Traveling Light Day 17: Messenger Mastermind


I had the opportunity to attend and speak at Tammy Ward’s Messenger Mastermind in Ogden, Utah today. I didn’t speak until three o’clock, and really enjoyed the presenters before me.

Here are a few notes I took.

LuanaLei Turetzky

Thoughts from Luanalei Turetzky

“Allow a thought to be benign until you use choice to activate its power. A thought holds no power until you believe it.”

“When we step into vulnerability and we partner with someone who steps into their vulnerability, an ultimate creation results.”

“Being the boss means you have the power to make your choices. But you do not have the power to pick the consequences. Being a creator means letting go of trying to control the consequences.”

“The things you’re holding onto and trying to control most are the things that are keeping you from the things you want most.”

“Excessivism is not abundance.” Luanalei Turetzky

Thoughts from Allie White

“Transformation does not happen without conversion.”

“When going thru fire, decide to be forged instead of consumed.” Allie White

How to Sell More Books

I spoke on various ways to sell more books including press releases, getting media and PR, Amazon Author Central, leveraging Goodreads, and collaborative methods for selling more books and positioning yourself as an expert.

New Headshot in the Works

Aubree Della (Tammy’s Daughter) was there doing headshots. I’ve been wanting a new one for upcoming books and for my web sites and social media. So I was able to get a session with her. The photos will be available in a couple weeks. It was a great deal.

I’ve seen some of Aubree’s work and she does a good job, so I’m hopeful I’ll have a few good ones to use. It’s been a couple years since I’ve had any professional photos done, so I’m overdue.

Ginger Crinkles

After getting back to Martina’s, I decided to make her kids some of my ginger crinkles. Most people rave about these cookies. They’re definitely one of my claims to fame. 🙂  If you want the recipe, I have a fun video of me making Ginger Crinkles as Julia Child here.

Beauty and the Beast

After making cookies, Martina, her kids and I watched the newer live action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I believe my favorite part of the movie was this song by Dan Stevens (The Beast) as Belle is returning to rescue her father.

 

 


book coaching

Traveling Light Day 16: Book Coaching


marnie and bonnie chadburn

Marnie and Bonnie Chadburn

I put the finishing touches on my flyers for the How to Sell More Books class I’ll be teaching at Tammy Ward’s Mastermind tomorrow. Then Martina dropped me off to make copies while she took her kids somewhere. Afterward we ran to Costco and back to her house.

This afternoon I had an in-person appointment with a book coaching client whom I’ve been working with by phone. Bonnie Chadburn is working through my Create A WOW book program. Bonnie’s writing a book to assist people who suffer from mental illness. So many people with mental illnesses succumb to suicide, and Bonnie’s goal is to stop that.

She and her husband are a delight. He sat in with the consult and it was wonderful getting to know both of them. Being the mother of a child with mental illness, Bonnie’s book is particularly intriguing to me. I’m grateful to play a small role in its development.

 


travelers on netflix

Traveling Light Day 15: Travelers on Netflix


I had a couple leadership meetings for The Quickening today, did my Marnie’s Marketing Mondays class and worked on my presentation for Wednesday. I’ll be giving a 45 minute class at Tammy Ward’s Mastermind in Ogden Utah Wednesday afternoon.

Tammy has brought me into her masterminds via Zoom three times in the past. This is the first time I’ll be able to attend live. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be teaching “How to Sell More Books”

Tonight after dinner, Martina and I watched the last two episodes of season 1 of Travelers on Netflix. I love time travel books, movies and series. This one has been really good. I’m glad to see it’s been picked up for a second season. It will just be a while until it’s released.

The cast of characters are very likeable and the plot-line is intriguing. There was a good cliff hanger at the end of the season, and I’m looking forward to see how it resolves.


making cookies

Traveling Light Day 14: Cookie Time


I went to church with Martina and her kids today, then came back to their house and took a nap for about four hours. It was fantastic! I haven’t had a good long Sunday nap in quite a while.  I used to take a 2-3 hour nap every Sunday. It was my sacred ritual that got me through the rest of the week. I’ve missed it.

After dinner, I made chocolate chip cookies with Martina’s two youngest girls. They were so excited to get to help make cookies. The older of the two found all the kitchen utensils and ingredients for me. She stirred everything in the bowl as I put it in, and rolled out the cookies with her baby sister.

Making cookies with little children has always been one of my favorite activities. One of my fondest memories is the way Joshua asked for cookies. He didn’t really ask. He’d announce with great enthusiasm, “We could make cookies!” How could I resist agreeing, “Yes, we could!” I don’t believe I ever told him No.

 


the adjustment bureau

Traveling Light Day 12-13: The Adjustment Bureau


I spent the day Friday putting the finishing touches on the presentation and handouts for my two classes on Saturday. I taught “How to Sell More Books Online” and “Facebook Advertising Basics” in North Salt Lake.

The classes went well and I was able to record them. I kept forgetting to start the recording on the book class, but I got a good recording of the Facebook advertising class. I’m planning on offering it as an online training which I’ll have up shortly.

After my classes on Saturday, Martina and I watched The Adjustment Bureau starting Matt Damon. Martina and I saw it together at the theater when it first came out in 2011. We couldn’t believe it has been six years since then. We both love the movie and I definitely relate to it.

The main character is being kept apart from the woman he loves because the “Adjustment Bureau” thinks that if he’s with her, she’ll “be enough” for him. He won’t need to put himself out in front of audiences. be ambitions or eventually become President (like he’s destined to be) if he is with the girl.

I know when I was with my last husband, I felt like that relationship was “enough” for me. I had no desire to travel or speak or step outside my comfort zone because I was satisfied to be in a loving relationship where my emotional needs felt met. What happens when he’s gone? I feel the need to get out and speak and teach and travel again.

Sometimes it feels like “The Adjustment Bureau” said, “She’s playing small again, let’s get her out of this relationship.” Sigh… can I ever have a happy, fulfilling marital relationship AND fill the measure of my creation?


be still my soul

Traveling Light Day 11: Be Still My Soul


My friend Leslie Householder got me tickets to the Millennial Choir and Orchestra performance tonight. I brought some friends and thoroughly enjoyed the Be Still My Soul production. The first song they performed was How Great Thou Art, and I have included a video below of their version of the song. I wish I had a recording of their version of Be Still My Soul, but it has not been released yet.

Be Still My Soul touched me profoundly. I’d played it on the piano at my mother’s funeral, so she came to mind when the song started. As I closed my eyes and let the music wash over me, a scene entered my mind of my mother arriving in heaven surrounded by concourses of angels, singing celebrating her return as she came into the presence of the Savior. Such joy filled my heart for her — a very emotional experience for me.

Here’s the video of the Millennial Choir and Orchestra performing How Great Thou Art. There’s no comparison to attending live but this gives you a taste.


heart music

Traveling Light Days 8-10: Music & Memories


josh and talayna

My son Joshua and his fiance Talayna

The last few days have been filled with music, creating memories, and recalling memories. I’ve been staying at the Ropp’s (my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law’s family’s house) since Sunday night.

We had a cookout Monday night. My boys and their father came (Nate and Elijah have been staying with him during the trip). Of course, Talayna’s family was there as well as Josh’s best friend  with his wife and little girl. I enjoyed being with everyone and getting to know the Ropp’s a little better.

They have been very hospitable and kind … just really good, caring people.

Memories

Wednesday I was sitting in the Ropp’s kitchen with Joshua and Talayna, and a memory flashed into my mind. I saw Joshua as a 5-year-old cutie pie holding my hand as we walk out of the house to run errands.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Something told me to press the record button in my brain so I would always remember my little errand buddy.

I really should press that record button more often. Do you ever do that? Do you have that mechanism in your mind that stores ordinary moments as extraordinary ones?

Music

When I wasn’t working on preparing for my Saturday classes in North Salt Lake or spending time with family, I was playing music.

Talayna’s grandmother is a piano teacher. She’s actually a lot more than that. She once owned a thriving conservatory and one of her conservatory grand pianos sets in their living room. I’ve really enjoyed playing it. It has a wonderful sound and touch.

Here are a couple videos I made. The first is “Danny Boy.” I’ve been working on my chords. The sheet music for this is just the single note melody so I’m integrating my own chords around it. This was one of my mother’s favorite songs, so it is for her.

The second is “To Make You Feel My Love.” I was practicing my vocals, and the piano comes through so loud on the recording that I kept the chords for the piano simple. I really need to invest in a lapel mic for my phone.