Jaxty's Place

My place to ramble about my family, my crafts, my travels and life.

Cumberland Island, GA

On Saturday, Carl and I made the 1-1/4 hour drive up to St. Mary’s, Georgia with our friends, Dee and Eddy. Twice a day, a ferry shuttles visitors to Cumberland Island, only accessible by boat.

Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island offers a rustic getaway with over 50 miles of trails and roads, as well as 18 miles of undeveloped beach. Cumberland Island is home to pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes. Cumberland Island is also home to about 140 feral horses that roam freely on the island.


Since it was a 45-minute ferry ride each way, Carl was smart enough to suggest bringing a deck of cards so that we could pass the time playing our favorite Camp Cards.


Once on the island, we took a leisure 4.5 mile walk around the southern end of the island.


The first part was through the cool, tree-covered pathway.


The second part was on the beach along the Atlantic ocean coastline.

At the southern end of the island, we explored the ruins of Dungeness, the Carnegie family mansion and extensive grounds. The 1880s property was destroyed by an arson fire in 1959.


This is the mansion in all its glory prior to the fire.


It was in that area I caught my first glimpse of some wild horses, grazing in the marsh in the distance.


Here, let me get closer.


There were lots of interesting buildings to see and we enjoyed listening to the self-guided phone tour on Eddy’s cell phone.


While stopping for a snack break in an open field, we saw a few more horses much closer.


After over 4 miles and four hours exploring the island, it was time to catch the ferry back to mainland. We played more Camp Cards and saw dolphins on the return trip!

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day that was just perfect for exploring this beautiful place just a short drive from home. Thank you Dee and Eddy for a great day together!


Easter Sunday

I hope that you all had a very blessed Resurrection Sunday and know the love and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus. He died so that we may live. Rejoice in Him!


After bringing Zack to church with us, we returned home to welcome our friends from church, Michelle and John.


After enjoying some appetizers on the lanai, I put some sirloin steaks in the smoker.


While they cooked, we played some Camp Cards.


When the steaks were ready, we enjoyed a delicious low-carb feast with steak, mushrooms, cauliflower potatoes, brussel sprouts and salad.


Then John took a nap in the hammock :).


He eventually joined Carl for a dip in the pool.


Actually, that was about as far as they got. Water’s still a little brisk!

We played a few more rounds of Camp Cards while the food settled and we made room for dessert. It was a very relaxing day spent with good friends, good food, conversation and cards.


We are very blessed!


Wordless Wednesday: Before and After

From Jeff’s wedding in 1983…


A little less hair, a few more pounds…but looking good, guys!


They really haven’t changed a bit!


CBHS Reunion

Thanksgiving week, when we visited with Carl’s friend from high school, Bobby, the guys discussed how it had been way too long since the last reunion of their core group of friends from their high school soccer team. Back in 2001, we organized the first reunion of the guys at our house in Minnesota, complete with visiting the amusement park at the Mall of America, golfing, a tour of the MN Vikings facility and a preseason football game (although actually Bobby canceled at the last minute that year since it was shortly after 9/11). The following year, they all (including Bobby) met up in Memphis and toured all their old hangouts.


Then life happened and the young families got busy and they didn’t meet again until now 🙂 . With two of the guys now living in the Atlanta area and Bobby traveling there frequently for work, Atlanta was the natural choice for the location.

Carl and I drove in on Friday afternoon and spent our first night at Jeff and Waverly’s beautiful, expansive house in the woods.


We stayed in the guest suite, complete with our own entrance, bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and kitchen. Sweet…they are lucky that we didn’t decide to move in!


That evening, Steve and Anne drove over from the other side of town for dinner. (Bobby and his wife were not due to arrive until Saturday late morning.)


In the morning, the three guys and I went for a brisk, 38 degree hike up Kennesaw Mountain.


It was cool to see the cannons left on the mountain from the Civil War.


After our hike, we all showered and dressed and then met up with Bobby and his wife, Jessica, for lunch, where we were seated at a table next to Kirk Cameron from the 1980’s TV show, Growing Pains and star of a series of Christian movies in the past few years. Jessica and I were particularly smitten and tried to work up the nerve to ask for a photo but we didn’t (other than sneaking him into our photo below).


After lunch, we went to a local escape place.


These are all the rage across the country and if you haven’t heard of them, they place you in a locked room with a series of clues and puzzles that you have to solve to figure out how to get out of the room in a designated amount of time (an hour).


Despite our best efforts and getting down to the last puzzle, we ran out of time to escape. Losers!!

We then headed over to Steve and Anne’s house for dinner and the guys spent time looking at old school yearbooks, photo albums and other memorabilia.


We ended the night sharing our favorite group game with them, “Say Anything.” It was a lot of laughs.


I love the fact that these old friends of 35-years can get together and pick up just like it was last week. And we were all impressed that the guys all married so well and the wives could join in just like we’ve been friends for years too (although I’ve met them all at various times over the years, we really don’t know each other very well and some of the other wives have never met).


Carl and I stayed at Steve and Anne’s stately house the second night.


After a terrific breakfast in the morning, we headed back home.

It was a great weekend and we are so happy to have spent time with all of these old friends all weekend. It’s quite notable that this group of friends that all married young are now all still together for 25+ years (33 years for Jeff and Waverly, 31 years for Carl and I, 29 years for Bobby and Jessica and 27 years for Steve and Anne)! That’s quite an accomplishment. We are going to ensure that it is not another 15 years before we all gather together again!


More Fun in Memphis

Other things we did in Memphis…

  • Saw a bargain movie at the $3 theater.

  •  Played games, of course.
  • Visited Sue and Karl’s former neighbor, 93 year-old Marianne, a devoted woman of God who has been a positive spiritual influence in the lives of so many people for many years.

  • Visited with Carl’s high school friend, Bobby Williams.

  • (The guys) did some landscape work at Leslie’s house.
  • Shared meals together.

  • Just enjoyed each other’s company and cherished the time together. We are very blessed by our time in Memphis.


This past weekend, I found out that my old across-the-street neighbor from Minnesota was flying into Orlando for the week with her boyfriend. I invited her to drive up to Jacksonville for the Jaguars game on Sunday (Carl had a few extra tickets) and dinner at our house. I am so happy that they took us up on the offer! (I also invited them to stay for the night but they decided to drive back that night.)

It was so great to spend hours talking and laughing as if a day had not passed since we were last together. I love friends like that!


We loved meeting her new boyfriend, Pat, and are so happy that they are so happy together. I have seen Melissa through two rough marriages and some very hard years with her kids but she is in a great place now and it’s a joy to see.

It blows my mind to think that Melissa and I have been friends for over 17 years and have seen our children grow up together. Where does the time go??


Saturday in the Burg

My friend, Dee, was disappointed that she couldn’t make the October craft night, where we made the wooden pumpkin set. I told her that I would give her a private class if she had us over and had her husband prep the wood pieces for us. So on Saturday, Carl and I drove out to the boonies (about 40 minutes from our house) to Middleburg, Florida (aka, “The Burg”).


Dee did a fabulous job and her pumpkins turned out so cute. This is definitely my favorite craft night project to date.


Since I had started preparations for a November craft night that didn’t quite pan out, I had the makings for 20 Thanksgiving cards which I brought with me as well. Dee had fun making a bunch of cards for her family. I’m not going to show a photo though since my relatives can expect to see the card very soon.

Since we were out in the boonies, Dee and Eddy decided it was only appropriate to take us shooting so we drove to their son’s property with their guns and Eddy set up a target for us.


After giving us some basic safety instructions, Eddy let us both try shooting their pistols.



It was scary but exhilarating at the same time! It is amazing the amount of power in that little pistol and I can’t imagine being hit by the force of that bullet. I actually did not do too bad for my first time shooting ever…all my bullets hit the target (shown by the circled bullet holes).


I know just what to get Carl for Christmas now.


This was my best Charlie’s Angels pose…I look like a maniacal dork!


After our shooting adventure, we returned to Dee and Eddy’s house for a fabulous dinner of lamb chops, asparagus and salad.


Since Dee and Eddy are starting a low-carb diet, we spent a lot of time coaching them on what to eat and sharing the tips that we’ve learned along the way. We wish them much success on their low-carb journey!

Finally, we ended the night with a few rounds of Dominoes (for which I failed to get a photo). It was a super fun day and evening with our good friends and we are so happy to have them in our lives. We look forward to doing it again soon!


Thanks Dee and Eddy for a great day!





Block Party

On Sunday, Carl and I hosted a block party for our end of the street. I made invitations on the computer and then last week we walked from house to house to try to personally invite all of the neighbors. If we couldn’t get them after two tries, we just left the flyer on their door.


Of the 13 houses invited, 9 showed up (at least for a little while) which we think was a good turn-out.


We put up three tents on the driveway for shade since it is still in the low 80s around here.


I set up some tables with some Fall decorations to hold all the food. People were asked to bring their own meat and drinks and a side dish to share. We provided all of the paper goods.


It was a really great time building a sense of community with those around us. Everyone stayed for over 4 hours so they must have been having fun. Plus, they all asked if we could do it again on regular basis (like once a quarter or every 6 months).


I’m so grateful for the chance to make all of our neighbors our friends. Good times!



It’s the sign of true friendship when you talk to an old friend and it’s like not a day has gone by and your conversation just flows easily and freely. (I’m grateful for social media…especially Facebook…that allows you to stay connected to family and friends all across the country, even when you don’t get to talk with them personally). It was during one of those all to infrequent phone calls last month with my good friend from Minnesota, Deb, that she mentioned she would hopefully be coming to Jacksonville on a business trip in August.

Last Thursday night, Deb did indeed fly into town and first stopped to have dinner with a neice-in-law before heading to our house for cocktails and catching up around the pool for a few hours before bed (Deb stayed at our house with us).

On Friday, since she didn’t have to be at her job site until late afternoon, we took advantage of the free morning for a 4.5 mile walk on the beach.

Deb (1)

We stopped at the halfway point and at the end to cool off and play in the waves. As we were in the water the first time, Deb exclaimed “I just saw something…I think it was a dolphin. Or a shark. But I think a dolphin.” Suddenly, we saw it (a dolphin) popping up again, just about 20 feet from us. Then looking out at the water, we saw another group of 4 dolphins swimming and jumping. And then another group! So exciting! I’ve lived in Jacksonville for almost 2 years now and this was my first dolphin encounter. Deb was here less than 24 hours and saw them on her first visit to the beach!

After lunch at the beach, we headed back home to shower so that Deb could go off to work for a few hours. When she returned, I served her dinner and then we capped off the night with more cocktails and a few rounds of Camp Cards in honor of old times.

Deb (2)

Deb had an early flight out the next morning to get back for the county fair which her daughter was participating in (such a thoughtful mom). It was a short and sweet visit but I am grateful for the time together. It’s always so great to spend time with friends and to talk, laugh and have fun. I hope that it’s not another two years before we get to spend time together!


Fun in the Sun with Friends

On Friday, our friends from church (and home group leaders) arrived in Santa Rosa Beach with their dog, Abby, to spend the weekend with us. It rained all afternoon so we enjoyed the time playing Camp Cards with our new converts and eating shish kabobs on the grill for dinner. After dinner, the skies finally cleared so we headed to the beach for the sunset.

While there, we saw a wedding party taking photos at the beach and a surprise engagement.

Awwww….how sweet!

That evening we played more games before heading off to bed.

On Saturday, the guys went fishing first thing in the morning…well, Carl fished and Eddy supervised.

When they returned, we gathered our things and returned for the morning/early afternoon at the beach.

After our relaxing time at the beach, we showered, dressed and went for a lovely early dinner on the bay, thanks to Dee and Eddy.

All of the food was amazing and beautifully presented.

Carl’s meal with a name I can’t remember.

Thanks for a great dinner, sweet friends!

We spent another evening playing games together

Eddy helped clear the freezer by eating the rest of the ice cream. What a trooper.

We are so grateful for the Godly example of their 47-year marriage (except when playing Sequence…they need to work on that area a bit…ha!) and the love and care Dee and Eddy provide our church and home group. We are thankful that they could join us for a few days of sun, fun and fellowship.

Thanks for coming Dee, Eddy and Abby. We love you guys!!