Adventure Week Eleven

Ever planned a wedding?

Yeah. Adventure Week Eleven went big. Real big.

Precious friends talked about eloping in the midst of some difficult family situations.

But, really, could this couple pass up the chance at a beautiful day?

Just look at them.

Too beautiful to elope!

Too lovely.

Too many friends.

That precious young woman has shown me what it is like to live in freedom this past year.

So I joined a village and helped with a wedding.

I asked my DIRTY DANCING tribe to make desserts. And they came to the rescue. (That’s a whole other post right there, my journey in learning to ask.)

That’s a PIE BAR, y’all.

There was also a Cookie/Brownie TOWER.

There were invitations painted by THE BEAR AND THE ROSE, a sweet etsy shop I just happened to know. They were all woodland shire looking because the couple said to me one night when we were talking plans that they liked The Lord of the Rings.

I can’t find that particular photo right now, but you just imagine that soft forest green background with the names Gretchen and Zach etched on it.

The programs had that same simple font and were graciously done, at the last minute I might add, by Ms Christy, of artvark creative.

Need help imagining the wooded shire …

groom and his men

(The Groom and His Men, photo by Sarah Scruggs of Kindred Co.)

Friends did flowers and music – even a harp y’all!

And photography by Sarah Scruggs.

(Note to Kindred Co., I’m going to steal another of your pics, but give you credit, ok?)

But for me, the highlight of it all was the statement of vows. Borrowing much from the traditional, but with additions from themselves, those promises made to each other reminded me of what these precious two have already overcome together and what, with God’s continued help, they will continue to do as one.

I present to you, my Adventure Week Eleven, with much gratitude to them for allowing me to be a part of their special day –

Mr. and Mrs. Zach Arnold

reception kiss

(photo, you know, by Sarah Scruggs of Kindred Co.)



Adventure Week Five

Week five was adventure with beauty.

Just look at them –

mops reunion
Hot Middle-Aged Mamas

Shawna Lee, in the middle there, she’s the one that named us.

That high school girl on the left – that’s Bev, the one of us that has a legal adult aged child.

And me, I was the last to the party.

The MOPS PARTY. Mothers of Preschoolers.

Time machine on back to winter 2006. I had an infant and my local friends seemed to all already have a bunch of kids. One friend, with four kids already, knew I needed some community that she, living on the other side of town couldn’t give in depth.

She suggested MOPS.

And when I didn’t google it and locate a nearby group – she did the googling for me – and told me when and where to go.

I showed up at St. Andrew’s Baptist Church, left my baby with some older ladies, followed the sound of voices interspersed with laughter, and found a table spread with the best brunch goodies I’d had in quite awhile. They talked about doing a craft or something that wasn’t really my thing. But I didn’t care. Because I was recovering from thrush and two ladies there knew secrets they were willing to share about how to feel better before you got completely better.

And in my motherly discomfort, I laughed.

Time machine forward a bit. I join the ranks of MOPS field leadership and serve underneath those two beauties in the pic above.

For a couple of years. Maybe.

Fast forward, present day.

We facebook now.

We’re hot middle-aged mamas, remember? We instagram, too.

But we didn’t make time for face to face or selfie portraits for years.

Yes, I said years.

Friendship. It sometimes takes root quickly. It sometimes bears fruit for season upon season.

The one in charge said we were going to meet up this year. So we did.

She chose this spot. Beauty continued. Have you seen Amelie’s French Bakery?

The place, ahem, is curated. The atmosphere – well, let me just copy and paste straight from their own website:

Atmosphere has always been of the utmost importance. The decor is the real jewel of our bakery, it gives us our je ne sais quois. From the beginning it has been painstakingly curated piece by piece by owner Brenda Ische. “I find interesting aspects in the most mundane objects, seeing them for what they could be, not what they are” is just a piece of her philosophy on design with its playful mix of French antiques, bright colours, tangible installation art elements and always with strokes of the suis generis.

From its inception we hope to elevate and fascinate each and every person that walks through our doors.

Ms. Ische, amongst your stuff, three mundane-ish women became more. Together, we were more than we could be alone. And it was beautiful.

Our spirits were elevated. Our conversations were fascinating.

The phones rang notifications. The world raced on outside without us.

(Actually a storm brewed outside unbeknownst to us; that’s another adventure.)

But we giggled and ate bon bons.



I had two of these.

Ok, ok. And also a chocolate cinnamon one.

If you live nearby, if you’re passing through the neighborhood –

GO TO Amelie’s French Bakery!

or, if you’re in the throes of young mothering, find a MOPS.

or, if you’re not in Carolina or not a mom,

or even if you’re a man –

find an old friend and reconnect.

where do your roots run deep?

there’s beauty there… 

season after season.