Ocean Isle, NC Plum Coastal Cottage


Sunday, August 9, 2020 Travel Day

“The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and all the memories we’ve made along the way.” – Unknown

“Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?” – Zig Ziglar

Today we leisurely got up to work on last minute work items and chores. We packed until noon, and said our good-byes. Adelaide encouraged the family to see us off with a cheer and a wave! I loved how my oldest daughter shared a beautiful picture of Ocean Isle and a rainbow. God’s promises. My mom and dad always send us off with a prayer for safety and great joy.

We stopped at Cookout about 3 hours into the drive for a quick lunch. It’s odd to not be able to go inside due to the pandemic. We visited the walk-up window and ate in our car. We had a humorous moment when I accidentally ate Parish’s meal. He kept complaining that his “huge” was not huge at all. I really thought they were the same size until he held up his thin burger.

We arrived at Plum Coastal Cottage at 5:00. The place was warm and welcoming, and we immediately fell in love with the art and the layout of the house. There are 3 full bathrooms, 3 beautiful bedrooms, and decks all around the house to include two screened in porches. We are surrounded by nature and privacy for the most part. There are other homes around you, but once you get inside the house you feel secluded.

We decided to unpack and head to the beach to see the beauty of the ocean and check out the town. They have ample parking and public beach access. We meal planned and headed to the local Publix. This store was clean and stocked with everything you needed for your vacation. Valentina got Sushi for dinner, and we had our Keto meat and cheese tray.  On our way home from shopping, we saw a man riding a horse!

We enjoyed a lovely meal with great conversation.

In one word: Anticipation

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Monday, August 10, 2020 Beach Day

“A vacation helps to relieve stress and boredom, gives us a change of scenery, provides us with adventure, and helps to bring us closer to the people in our lives.” – E. S. Woods

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to work on some personal goals. I enjoyed the comfortable lounge chair on the screened in back porch. At 5:00 a.m. I was able to watch the sunrise and the new day begin. Slowly the family joined in, and Parish and I talked for awhile on the porch, and then he made a yummy breakfast. Valentina joined us, and we decided to get ready for beach day!

We found the perfect spot! The water was warm and the waves just right. We enjoyed the sun and the fun in the water. We noticed in our travels paddle boarding, and I signed Parish and Valentina up for a class and tour on Thursday! Last two spots!

Heading home we decided to stop at Drift Coffee Shop for the best cup of coffee, and Valentina got a sandwich. They cater to healthy choices, coffee, tea, and smoothies.

After a day at the beach, the shower felt refreshing. We dressed up and headed to Ocean Isle Fishing Company Restaurant. You guessed it. She got Sushi, and we got a great Keto meal of tuna and bacon-wrapped shrimp. Valentina and I had fun taking mother-daughter pictures by the water.

There is this interesting name of a creek. When we travel over the bridge, we get a good laugh. We decided to stop and take our picture at “Sauce Pan Creek”.  I’m sure the locals in the neighborhood were wondering what we were doing in their backyard!

At home, we relaxed with reading, ordering a pretty dress for Valentina, and talking. She loved my dress so much, she wanted one, too!

In one word: Exciting

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Kindred Spirit/Sunset Beach Day

“No matter what fabulous place I visit, I don’t feel like I’m on vacation unless I’m dehydrated and covered with sunscreen.” – Chelsea Cain

We selected this quote, because today we went to Sunset Beach to walk approximately 3 miles to Kindred Spirit mailbox. I guess we did not realize how thirsty we would be and how hot the walk would be, and we, thankfully, were covered in sunscreen. Let me back up. Today, I slept in until 6:00, which was sleeping in for me. I enjoyed my favorite spot on the back porch. We saw a deer family in the backyard and so many birds singing. Parish graciously massaged my feet and shoulders–my stress points–with lotion as the breeze blew in through the screen. We had quail eggs for breakfast. A favorite from our time in D.C. last year.

When Valentina woke up we took a mother daughter trip to Drift Coffee Shop and learned how to do a type of letter drawing I saw in Dayspring magazine. This magazine is so positive and uplifting.  She worked on her resume and applied for a job, and we wrote in our gratitude journal. It was fun to see past entries.  Guess what?! She called the place she wanted to work to send the resume, AND the owner is setting up an interview with her! We decided to walk around the local shops and have lunch at the Pelican Perch. We found some really good deals on some summer dresses and outfits. We saw a lizard inside a store on a banister. Bless him.

Returning home, we brought lunch to Parish, and then headed to Sunset Beach. My dearest friend Kris from work told me about the Kindred Spirit mailbox, and I had to go!

I shared with Valentina about my friend who told me all about this beautiful place, and how she said, “It reminded me of you.” Valentina, said, “That’s a good friend–someone who knows you and shares in the knowing.” Yes, Valentina, that is a treasure. I wrote my letter ahead of time. I wrote about loved ones and my letting go, dreams, purpose, and direction. Valentina wrote in the journal offered in the mailbox. Along the way we talked and enjoyed each other’s company.

We are home now– a shower and watching the sun go down from our porch. A good dinner of sea bass and crab legs will be shared. We stopped at a local market on the way home. The market is below the restaurant. Valentina loves Buzzfeed quizes. We sat on the back porch giving each other quizzes, like “Would you pass 6th grade?”; “What mystical animals are you?”; “What kind of pasta noodle are you?” Hilarious! I passed 6th grade. I’m a unicorn, which made my night, because, honestly, I would LOVE to be a unicorn. I described where I would live, how I would look, and the magical things I would do. I’m just plain old spaghetti. I was hoping I was something more romantic like farfalle.

Today’s Word: Adventure

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020 BIG WAVE DAY!

“An upcoming vacation gives us something to eagerly anticipate.” – Jaime Kurtz

Good morning! This morning was filled with peace and serenity. Having been on a healthy eating plan prior to coming to the beach, my body was in gear for early morning quiet time, thoughtful reflection, yoga, and relaxation. I was listening to praise and worship music, and I was reminded of the song “There was Jesus”, by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton. I love Dolly. The words to this song will cause you to be so grateful.

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus

Parish found pork belly at the grocery store, so he slowly cooked the pork with eggs and avocado. Our eating plan is low carbs. He has lost 15 pounds, I’ve lost the 10 I gained during the stress of the pandemics we are facing. We just woke up one morning and said, “We can’t do this anymore.” A mindset shift. Parish and I enjoyed a great conversation about communication and marriage. I shared with him my reflections and prayers to God as I was walking to the kindred spirit mailbox. He added deeper meaning as we talked through it together. I may write about this on another post. God continues to draw my eyes to the bark on the tree outside from our house. It’s something about the pattern and the details of God’s creations. Parish went outside and took a little piece from the tree for us to take home with us. We saw a fox in the yard today!

I was thinking of my parents so I wrote a post about their 63 years of marriage, in which, they celebrate on August 13, 2020. A day early, but heartfelt. Victoria sent me pictures of a fun visit from Aunt Shirley and my cousin, Cindy. They came to visit and to celebrate with my parents. Aunt Shirley loved on Adelaide and gave her some new blocks to play with.

We decided to go to Ocean Isle beach and explore the other end. We took her huge, ring float and road the biggest waves! They were so big you got a workout wrestling to stay sure footed. I told them that I felt I was engaging in a salt cleanse! The ocean is so healing.

Exhausted from the beach, we came home by way of Publix to get a few items for our chicken dish. We researched a recipe that included cream cheese, prosciutto, cheddar cheese, and spices. I made bacon brussel spouts and a salad. Valentina rode into the town for ice-cream. We finished the night with our new found love for “lettering” and talking. We ate at the kitchen table, and I love how the afternoon light pours into the room.

It was nice to fall asleep to a rain storm.

In one word: Serenity

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Thursday, August 13, 2020 “The Storytelling Day!”

“In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy or game you bought them, they will remember the time you spent with them.” – Kevin Heath

Valentina shared that every vacation needs a story to tell. Today was storytelling day! We have a pattern of early rise reflection, breakfast, and then adventure. Today’s adventure was an hour lesson of paddle boarding that included a tour. She had mentioned that she desired to learn, and we signed her and her dad up! We got the last two slots for August 13. We used Carolina School of Surf. They were accommodating and reasonably priced.

This was storytelling day for Parish, too. I went outside to stand under the Torii. He came outside to join me. We were silently reflecting when a bird flew directly towards my face, then last moment, shifted to the right. I screamed, and he started swatting all the mosquitoes on his legs, which then interrupted a nest of bees or biting flies. They flew with a furry at his face and, thankfully, only one stung him on is wrist, which is still swollen. I’m the one who packs an entire bag of medicine just for these freak incidents. I had hydrogen peroxide and Benadryl sting spray. They call me Dr. Quinn. It was good to hear of the fun things happening at home. Victoria was able to play in the rain with Adelaide, and Papa continues to learn how to do the morning dove bird call.

I used that time to mail some letters and visit a few local shops. When I returned to pick them up, I could tell something was up. Apparently, the heat really got to Valentina, and halfway into the adventure, she began to get blurred vision, nausea, and almost passed out. The danger of this was the fact she took off her life preserver out of panic. Parish was ready to rescue her and take her to the shore. He directed her to put her life preserver back on. He noted that he became a young man again with complete strength to swim all the way back to shore with her in his arms. Once the instructor got involved, she recommended pulling Valentina the rest of the way while she sat on the board. Valentina described the experience as challenging, but a time to overcome and to show her courage. She also noted that she spent most of the time enjoying the tour, and she learned how to paddle board. She became dehydrated, and learned that plenty of water inside of her prior to being on the water in the heat is necessary.

Because she was physically ill from the adventure, we went home and had lunch, water, and Gatorade. She took a shower and a long, needed nap to restore her body.

Parish and I enjoyed the afternoon of playing games, having a light lunch, and listening to 70’s music. We reminisced over Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, Carole King, and Daryl Hall and John Oates. The best part of the afternoon was sitting on the front screened in porch, listening to the rain and thunder, and laughing. Our games consisted of travel size scrabble, Stuff Happens, and Love Card Deck by The Gottman Institute. These questions or game for your marriage is an app that you download to your phone.

We ordered dinner from a local Mexican restaurant, and Valentina went into town to pick it up. We talked and had a picnic on the King sized bed. We tried to stay up and finish the new series The Twilight Zone, an episode about an octopus that wanted to rule the world. I fell asleep, but they stayed up. I got the 411 in the morning of what happened.

In one word: Courage


Friday, August 14, 2020 The Perfect Weather

“Time for some Vitamin Sea.” – Unknown

Today was filled with greatness! A slow morning start provided time for a podcast and painting. I love to create out of the treasures we find on vacation. I took a song from our time together and created a quote on a board I found in the yard. I also used our collected shells and treasures from our walk on Sunset Beach. The podcast was incredible! It was the next one on my “Good Life Project” app, but, timely, and covered the topics I am currently researching. His name is Dan Tomasulo: Learned Hopefulness, if you want to find his interview. I truly got into my “flow”–a good podcast and meaningful creativity. Parish decided to cook a wonderful brunch so we could use up our food in the refrigerator. Valentina joined us for brunch and a conversation that included our 30 Day Marriage Relationship challenge. I shared with her some tidbits from the podcast and the 30 Day Challenge, and we shared what we appreciated about each other. She truly warmed my heart with her answer about me, noting that she loved my personality and sense of humor. I shared with her how much I appreciated her gentle spirit and kindness towards the world.

We got dressed and went shopping and out for coffee, and then hit the beach by 3:30, which was the perfect time of day. A soft rain was falling, the wind was blowing, and the clouds kept the sun from beating down on us. We played in the water, took naps on the beach, and so enjoyed watching the cutest toddler playing in the sand and water with no fear. He was a chunky, red-haired boy that kept up with his older siblings with the cutest smile and giggles.

We came home and took showers, dressed up, and went out to eat. While waiting for us, Valentina got into her flow and created a beautiful collage with a quote. I think the quote was her turning point in reflection from this week. We had a great talk over coffee about recent events and how she was facing her future with a different mindset.

We dined at Boat Landing Restaurant. The restaurant was beautiful outside, but we had to go in due to the mosquitoes. The staff were friendly, and the food was good enough. We just enjoyed each others company and the friendly people around us. They had some jewelry for sale, and we got a few items.

We came home to dancing and spa night. Valentina tried my contacts on for fun. I have an entire dance video in which we were “dancing with the stars” to “Save the Last Dance for me”. I hope to add that later when I get home because the internet in this beach house runs too slow to upload that large of a file. That has to be one of my most favorite memories with her this week. I love my girl.

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Saturday, August 15, 2020 This is what every Saturday should be like.

“Spend a day doing nothing: Let your mind wander; let nature entertain you; let stress go.” unknown

Ah! Today was by far the most relaxing. I love Sunday to Sunday rental because you get this Saturday at your vacation spot to chill. We stayed  in bed all morning listening to the storm, ate a brunch around noon, and then ventured out to ride bikes on Sunset Beach. Valentina enjoyed painting beautiful art work. We stopped at Publix on the way home for some light snacks to picnic on while we watched episodes of Sponge Bob. 


In a word: RELAXED

Sunday, August 16, 2020 The memories will be forever in our hearts

“We have this moment.” Gathers

Today was a great morning on the porch dreaming of our anniversary get-a-way in February. We also continued our 30 day relationship challenge and talked about “when we first met”–our love story. We settled on a location and week, booked it, and we have something to look forward to as a couple. We will celebrate 32 years!

I reminded Valentina that it’s so good for us to get away from the noise and bond together as mom and daughter. I’ll always remember this time together. It was truly healing. We lost power while away at our home so all the food spoiled. I ordered Kroger to be delivered and Victoria will organize and put away. Thank you Victoria!

Be home soon!

In a word: Home



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Chelsea S. Longbottom says:

    I love your blog posts!!

    I am transitioning things over to a new email address, will you add:


    To your mailing list???

    Thank you!!! On Sun, Aug 16, 2020 at 2:16 PM ARRESTED BY GRACE wrote:

    > > > > > > womanofworthmentoringministries posted: “THEME OF THE WEEK: GREAT JOY! > > > > Sunday, August 9, 2020 Travel Day > > “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, > and all the memories we’ve made along the way.” – Unknown > > “Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day bef” > > >


    1. I will send you an invite! I love you sweet lady!


  2. ashleythomasrn says:

    Such wonderful memories being made! It looked like a beautiful place to cherish and enjoy being in God’s creation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was great fun!!! Good to get away. 🤗❤️


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