Fallen in Love With the Emerald Coast

In February, I took advantage of my post graduation no job status to escape the winter and visit my Dad where he grew up! It would also be my first time EVER in all of my flying experience to fly alone. It was weird to not be keeping track of hordes of high school students and having to keep track of everything for myself.

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He showed me around the area in his jeep.

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The first day I arrived, you couldn’t see the water at all due to the fog, but soon the clouds passed and the sun shone on the gorgeousness that truly is the emerald color of the water. I took so many pictures (with his Sony DSLR so I didn’t have to pack mine) I was entranced with the clear water!







It was really neat to visit the area he has newly again called home. We visited the Gulfarium where he watched the dolphin shows where he was a kid, and we went on a dolphin boat cruise.

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The best part was visiting with family that I haven’t seen for years.

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Hopefully it won’t be another decade before I get to visit the area again.

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I even got to spend time with my nephew when my Uncles drove to visit me. I was entertained at how many of the restaurant have drive up docks for boat traffic.

Learned To Let “The Shot” Go

In my free time I’ve been able to invest in new hobbies, I shared that I was going to be doing a photography class, well I LOVED it! It was only four weeks at a local photography store, but I’ve learned so much I’m now dabbling with Manual mode (with successful results) on a regular basis.

It would be easy to share about all of the technical things that I’ve learned in this class, as we studied exposure, composition,technique, and lighting.

But, the biggest take away was learning to see photography from a healthier perspective. When I first signed up for the class hubby warned me not to mention that I used GIMP or to share places that I’d like to shoot, knowing that the photography community can be quite snobby, rude, and ruthless. (He likes to try to protect is giant hearted princess from the harshness of the world ;0) ).

I was encouraged so much by the humility our teachers represented. Each week we were taught a lesson and given a homework assignment, that we’d discuss the next class. I was surprised to hear that they were more gentle on our photography attempts that most of us were. No matter the composition struggles, imperfect technique, or blurry subjects, they could always find something positive to say, and not in the fake way, but in a real way. When I’d hate my picture for not nailing it, they’d look at them and say, “this worked our pretty well!”

You could hear a lot of perfectionistic tendencies in the comments of myself and my classmates. We wanted to get “the shot” each and every time. It didn’t matter if the lighting in our environment sucked, if our camera gear and lenses weren’t up to par, we wanted to get “the shot.”

Some of us struggled to get out of Auto mode and using Manual mode more regularly. We struggled with the fear of failure. What if in trying to get ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to line up, we missed THE SHOT?

The teacher regularly encouraged us to test in Manual mode, because the shot would come again if we missed it (in most cases). At first I didn’t agree with him, in every moment I had this intense pressure to capture the child’s smile, the fun expression of my puppy, etc. I’m not questioning the value of each moment, but rather the pressure we amateur photographers place on ourselves. Especially those who are using the camera to document our daily lives and the beautiful moments with our loved ones.

We won’t always get the shot, life happens, lighting hates us, children move too fast. All we can do is experiment with our settings, “see it” and shoot. If we don’t get that one moment, its okay, there will be another moment that will be AhMahZing that we will be able to capture :0).

Doesn’t it feel better to not have so much pressure? ;0)


Prioritized Wifely Ministry

Back in February I had the awesome opportunity to be apart of a mentoring program called Apples of Gold at my church. It was a Bible study in which the first half of the night involved cooking lessons (which lets face it, I desperately need) and the second half discussed a topic related to marriage. We even were partnered with a seasoned woman in the study, my partner was the wife of my absolutely FAVORITE Bible professor in undergrad! I learned a lot through this class, and it was great to have ladies to lift me up in prayer as I was seeking a job placement. One of the last nights I shared about a job offer, and how excited I was to have a job again. My “golden apple” confronted me gently, reminding me that I already have a job. I said “I know.”

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But even during that class, I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get it till I’d needed to resign from my first career job unexpectedly, and was wrestling with God in my lack of purpose. That day that I had a “moment” with God while on the treadmill, He also opened my eyes to the ministry of loving and supporting my husband. It blatantly smacked me in the face, that I have an incredible about of purpose right now, always, because I am the only person in a position to love, support, and take care of my husband.

My undergraduate degree in women’s ministry taught me to understand my theological position in marriage. Upon marriage I sought to work on my attitude and ensure that I respected my husband. In our first few years I’d guilt myself over the house being clean, because it was my pride in role as wife that was a steak. Then, I realized I could glorify God in these chores, and it wouldn’t be about me. Finally, I’ve come to see that my role as a wife is a gift. In intentionally nurturing my husband’s heart (much the way that mommy bloggers like to intentionally focus on guiding their children) I can help him reach all the people that he interacts with.

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Ever since then I’ve been more intentional as a wife. In hindsight, husband’s job has been ridiculously stressful with added work, so its been beneficial that I didn’t have my own job’s stress to throw at him. Instead, I’ve been able to focus on doing things like preparing our meals, chores, anything to try and make this place a sanctuary for him.

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One of my biggest challenges is speaking appropriately when I’m stressed. So I have to purposely calm my voice and tone, focus on his needs, and rephrase my requests.

Another thing is even though I wait for my favorite person to come home so I can spend time with him, sometimes I need to sacrifice my needs, to give him the space that he needs when he leaves the office.

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This month the stress and work has even been worse. Like he was already working so hard and another coworker pulled him aside and told him to prepare for worse. (This was also the same day that we learned that a pet knocked over water on my laptop–killing it, so then needing to fork out $600 on another one :-/).

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It was neat to be able to come aside him, to ask him what he needed, how I could help support him. In my guilt I promised to not nag him for the week. He teased if this could be a life time deal. (haha I try!)

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I definitely wouldn’t say that I have “arrived”. I’m still incredibly selfish, always want to eat the last item of something, want help with chores, and want the world to revolve around my needs. However, it has been awesome to watch this sense of peace and stability really resonate in our relationship :0).

My Favorite Firearms Information For Women

Hi! We probably just randomly met out shopping, or you were directed here by a friend of mine, or you wandered here via the magics of the interwebs. The purpose of this page is to provide a brief compendium of my favorite firearm websites, articles, and videos, especially geared towards women. (I did all of the searching, so you can find everything in one place!) These links will be regularly updated.


Videos/YouTube Channels

  • LimaLife – Holster/firearms reviews, range diary, and issues from a female perspective. She also has an active Facebook community.
  • Faliaphotography – MANY Holster reviews, conceal carry issues from a female perspective.
  • MrMrsAuthority – More Holster reviews.
  • ThePatriotNurse – Combination of: firearms perspectives, medical, and homesteading.



  • The Well Armed Woman – Retail site with various holster styles for women, videos with holster demonstrations, active Facebook community, training classes, and articles about other carry issues.
  • Cornered Cat – GREAT articles on carry issues, best article on female carry outfits (linked below).
  • Handgun Law – Useful website regarding handgun laws in all states in U.S.

Recommended holster/gear companies

There are literally thousands of different types of holsters and gear on the market. Focus on finding a style of carry, and finding the highest level of quality for the price you want. Each person is going to have their own “favorite” which will likely depend on which products they’ve been able to try in the first place. Want to see how the average woman is carrying her firearm? Check out this fun infographic.


  • Tagua Gun Leather – Reasonably priced quality leather holsters. Many styles including pancakes, outside the waistband holsters, inside the waistband, etc. I especially like their leather thumb break holster.
  • IMI Defense – Quality Israeli made paddle holsters. This is not a preference for my personal every day carry, BUT it is perfect for range days, open carry, and competitions.
  • Remora – Amazing shoulder holsters at a good price, well known for their pocket and non slip holsters.
  • Roma Gun Leather – Selection of PRETTY gun purses, still expensive, but much less than other leather retailers. Your best bet is finding these at a gun show, to see them in person.
  • Maxpedition – Quality made nylon gear: bags and backpacks. They do look more “tactical” than blending in.
  • CrossBreed Holsters – Famous for their well loved tuckable inside the waistband holster.
  • Gun Goddess – Women styled thick leather belts and other products.


Specific Issues:


Got other questions? Feel free to post them and I’ll get back to you!

Built a Christmas Book Tree

This year, since we plan to be (I mean who knows with their snow fall) in NY, hubby said no to another real tree. And we kinda got rid of out fake tree last year…


Instead of having no tree to play with fun long exposure and pretty pretty lights, I discovered the practicality of building my own out of my bazillions of books!


I struggled during the building phase, pointing the book spokes in the wrong direction, and later wasn’t sure it was forming correctly. It is really important to have books of various sizes and to just “go with the process.”




I’m very happy with how this tiny tree turned out! Husband even approves since we have all these books already. He thinks we should do this every year.