Category Archives: Friends

A Conference You Can’t Miss…

So, 
You may know by now that I have been blessed to be a part of an amazing group of women across the U.S. A few years back, God led me to a ministry Leading & Loving It. These pastor’s wives {are you ready for this}…ARE ALOT LIKE ME! Yes, this group is full of Super Sanguine women, who adore their man, LOVE the Lord, and have a HUGE heart for PW’s and women in ministry. It was love at first email :). Well, they understand the obstacles of getting to conferences therefore, they’ve created one that is impossible to miss. Read below…
The JustONE Conference is back!

Need encouragement … challenge … connection … and inspiration? All while sitting comfortably on your couch with a latte in hand?

The JustONE Conference is a free virtual conference for all Pastors’ Wives and Women in Ministry. This 4 week conference will include over 20 speakers sharing from their personal lives and leadership. Each session will be shown 4 times during the week. So find a time that is right for your schedule, and join in!

This year the conference is based on a beautiful passage of scripture, 1 Timothy 4:12b-16  (The Message) “Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed–keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.” 

The conference begins Monday, January 23 and Tuesday, January 24 and is offered both morning and evening… 11am EST/ 8am PST and 9pm EST/ 6pm PST both days.  Join us for four consecutive weeks of teaching, encouragement and connection.

Click here to register and for more info: http://leadingandlovingit.com/leadership/the-justone-conference/

LORI WILHITE, brandi wilson, Kay Warren, jenni catron, MICHELLE MEEKS, jessica cornelius, HeAtHeR pAlAcIoS, Makeda Pennycooke, HOLLY FURTICK, julie richard, Tricia Lovejoy, lisa hughes, TIFFANY COOPER, trisha davis, ElEaNa gArZa, Melissa Elswick, lysa terkeurst, LaRySsA tOoMeR, Kerri Weems, lucretia noble, KIMBERLY SCOTT, and Lisa Young,

You’ll be cRaZy to pass up this line-up of Godly women. Hope you’ll join me!
Be Blessed,
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Handwritten Letters

Ahh, the old handwritten letters. What happened to those? Where did they go? These past few months I have surprisingly thumbed through the bills to find several handwritten cards and letters to me & our family. I often get encouraging tweets, emails, texts, & facebook messages, but there’s something about a handwritten letter that just warms your heart.  Many of you probably have a box somewhere that you store those letters in. Maybe a drawer full of cards you just can’t trash. Why is that?

As I look back at the handwritten letters from my beloved, I’m flooded with memories of when we dated. The value of the words is much stronger than those that come through text. It’s that way with everyone. It’s nice to know that someone took the time to write their heartfelt message and deliver it to me.

I want to encourage you to send someone a handwritten letter this week. And, for those of you who have blessed me lately, thank you…I’m saving those letters. 🙂

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Be Blessed…

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Our Last Hours in the Swamp

Sunday afternoon we took one more ride in the boat with no seats. This time we ventured deep {well, deep enough for us} into the swamp with Lisa & Glenn. I just can’t tell you how peaceful it was. We had a few hours before the steaks & shrimp were to be cooked, so there was no rush. Tim was able to fish in the swamp and caught this Louisiana Large Mouth.  He had to have weighed at least a pound or two. 🙂

After a couple of hours boating around in the swamp, we went back to Lisa & Glenn’s and decided to go meet Clint. He was home with a few of his friends, just doing what most people do around there…eating odd things LOL. We pulled up to his house {me with my backpack filled with everything we needed to document our meeting} and around the corner we came. He knew we were in town {like everyone else}, but I don’t think he was prepared for the excitement of my camera, signing autographs, & making videos.

Clint is very laid back and enjoys his quiet evenings at home. This was far from quiet. We laughed alot and he blushed a little and we had lessons with words that neither of us understood. I found his pet bunnies, only to find out they weren’t pets :(. Yes, I shared my thoughts about that with him to which he laughed. We left him and his friends to their table of food and headed back to the Templet’s to dine with their son Kellan, his wife Amanda, Glenn’s brother & sister-in-law Corey & Bethany.Kellan, Me, Glenn, & Tim

 Me, Lisa, & Bethany

Kellen, Corey, Glenn, & Tim

Monday morning, we sadly packed our bags and headed back to Georgia. The entire way home we planned our next trip back to Cajun Country. While planning this trip, I had no idea that it would turn out the way it did. Not only did we experience Pierre Part to it’s fullest, we made connections with the wonderful people of this small town. We stopped in New Orleans for some beignets from Cafe Du Monde and a quick stroll around the square and ventured back home to Georgia. We will forever hold Pierre Part and those Crazy Cajuns close to our hearts. Little do they know, we’re coming back and bringing the family with us!

The big crop in that area is sugar cane. The fields along side the road were full of sugar cane. In the background, you can see the Sunshine bridge over the Mississippi River.

As we were pulling into New Orleans, we noticed men washing the Super Dome. Look closely…those little dots are men with pressure washers. I don’t think I would like that job.

This is an old building we spotted as we were headed to French Quarter.

As you may know, New Orleans is full of entertainment. Not sure who was preparing to play these, they were just sitting on the bench.

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, Louisiana

Be Blessed…

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Headed to the Camp

One thing we noticed while talking with all the locals was that everyone had a camp. People kept asking Glenn, “you going to the camp next weekend?” Tim & I didn’t fully understand what that was. Glenn explained to us that they often went to the camp on the weekends. It was a place where they hunted, relaxed, and mostly had their “man time”. Lisa and the ladies shop while the men are away. Now mind you we are in Cajun Country, so nothing is the same as ours. Glenn & Lisa decided to take us to the camp on Sunday…by boat. You see, the camp is out in the swamp. People rent land or water space for about $125 and $70 a year to place either a house or houseboat on. They drive their boats to different areas and hunt squirrel, rabbit, and duck.  What an odd combination huh? Thankfully squirrel and rabbit season came in the following weekend of our trip, so I didn’t have to taste that. We loaded up in Glenn’s little boat {did I mention it doesn’t have seats?} and headed out into the Achapallia Basin Spillway {that’s big water if you’re wondering}. Many of you may know my history with boats. I have this thing about falling out and something touching my feet. This boat was deep & wide enough that I didn’t have to worry about that. I figured if they can hold thousands of pounds of gators then it could hold me!

Something happened on this trip. It was so peaceful on the water and sitting on the bottom of this boat with no seats. Tim & I agree that our time on the boat might have been the most enjoyable part on the trip. As we were traveling at high speed we approached this barge pushing something very large. We got closer and realized they were pushing a camp house out to someone’s camp. This little ole camp house was about as big as our house! Notice the men on the front porch.

We motored on down the spillway {it was a nice smooth ride} and came upon some cows. Yes, I said COWS. That was quite amusing and unexpected. 

After about 15 minutes of peaceful speedy boating we took a right and there it was. The camp.

There was the Templet’s house {on land} and to the right down the little bayou were 3 smaller house boats. Glenn knew the people {they all know everyone} so he passed their place and we made some new friends. We parked the boat {and let me tell you he can park. He got the nose of that boat in a corner so we could get out and visit…and of course use the restroom} and right there in front of my eyes Glenn’s sweet brother began cleaning this catfish. 

It was more than I could handle so I had to turn my back and be rude :(.

We went inside and looked around at their camp and made small talk for a bit. It was truly like a camper, just on floaties and not tires. Interesting thing was, these things were everywhere. As we road through the swamp, we would come upon one alone or a community of several. It was so neat.

Random Camp out in the canal.

This is the view from their camp house. You can see that our boat only had a quilt. Glenn used the cooler to sit on while he drove. And yes, those are our bags. They made fun of me and my back-pack. I had everything I needed to survive out in the swamp…a comb, water, change of clothes, my camera, & a few other necessities.

We had to head back home because the Saints were playing and Lisa couldn’t miss her game and Tim {you’ll find this hard to believe} wanted to eat at Landry’s again. As we were headed back we spotted a gator. I was so excited to see him/her sunbathing on the land. As we turned around it scooted {I guess gators scoot} into the water. We got very close to this monster. It had to have been at least 3 or 4 feet long lol. 

 

We had such a fun time looking at the camps and we even boated in the Little Gator Airplane Canal. I was told that this is Willie & Jr’s hunting area {if you know who they are}. We saw several marked trees…could this have possibly been theirs?

 

Our experience on the swamp for the first time was breathtaking. You just can’t imagine how peaceful it really is until you visit it. Not what I had in mind at all. 🙂

to be cont…

 

 

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Yes…I ate it!

Finally the time arrived for us to eat some “real cajun cookin'”. After our ‘party barge’ ride, we drove over to Landry’s seafood. It’s a local seafood place and they say it’s often hard to get a seat. The LSU game was on Saturday evening so thankfully most of the regulars were at home. As I looked over the menu, I knew the pick-in’s for me were slim. After viewing the different frog, shrimp, alligator, and turtle options, I finally found some chicken.

Our sweet waitress Sharon was kind enough to bring us some gator bites to start us off for the evening. My friends all told me that if I was going to Cajun Country, I had to try some various animals. Well…I did it! Want proof? Here’s the video of me eating Gator with my cheering squad surrounding me. 🙂

Needless to say, we had an interesting evening at Landry’s. The food was so delicious that Tim and I ate there again on Sunday. I was so excited that Sharon and the other waitresses remembered us. Glenn said it was because I was so loud. I don’t believe that.

This is Sharon, our waitress at Landry’s. Super sweet lady and she was so kind to keep the odd animals and gooey gumbo coming to the table.

Not sure if I mentioned the casino’s in an earlier post, but I’ve got to share this. When Tim and I entered the Pierre Part area we began to see HUGE lit up Casino signs. We laughed about it being alot like Vegas and that maybe we could win some money. As we passed by the Casino facilities, we noticed they were all small service stations. Confused but humored we kept driving {not that we had planned on stopping anyway}. I was hoping to possibly see some big lights or shows, but there were none. Most of the stations/restaurants over there advertised a casino. Landry’s had a casino. Are you ready for this…and I’m not making this up at all! Here’s the entry door into the casino.

Yes my friends, behind those two swinging doors were 2 slot machines. I never saw anyone go in there and I wasn’t about to. Not sure if they ever have any big winners. I’ll have to ask on that one.

After a great meal at Landry’s, we headed back to our cabin and rested up for what was to come on Sunday.

to be cont…

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The Party Barge

As our exciting day came to an end we drove to meet some new friends and take a sunset ride on Lake Verret. Glenn & Lisa had been telling us about the Party Barge ride we had scheduled and I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that there was a communication error. You see, when I heard party barge, I thought of the picture to the left. I had no idea who all would be on this thing, I was just sure it would have a bathroom. Well, many of you may know, Sun Tracker makes a Pontoon boat that many call a party barge…LOL yes, we went with a few new friends on a peaceful pontoon boat ride on Lake Verret. There was no need to pull out my new gold shoes and change out of that orange shirt that I wore ALL day and had on in EVERY picture.

The store that I mentioned in my first post, Pierre Part Store, is owned/ran by Ken & Karen St. Germain. We visited the store earlier Saturday and I was able to meet sweet Claire, Ken, and our captain for the afternoon ride, Ken’s son Kyle. {sadly I didn’t have my camera in there with me}. They were so kind to give Tim & me a basket full of goodies including 2 Tervis Tumblers with their 100th Anniversary Logo on them. A keepsake I’ll always enjoy. 🙂

We met Karen earlier that day while riding through town and found out that she is their State Representative. She was very ‘down to earth’ {not sure if those Cajun’s know what that means…it means the REAL DEAL} and was very proud of her community.

We loaded up on the St. Germain’s Party Barge with our Captain Kyle, his friend Cheri, Glenn, Lisa & their daughter Shadie. The ride was absolutely beautiful.

Interesting things about these cypress trees. The things around them are cypress knees. Click here to watch Troy Landry explain what their function is.

As you can imagine, after a long ride away from land with four women on a boat, we were in desperate search of a bathroom. Thankfully we came upon Mr. Mark Newchurch’s camp. His home was across the road {I’ll explain about their camps in a later post} so Glenn ran across the road to ask for use of his facilities. He was kind enough to let us park the boat and enter his camp.

The sun was setting so we headed back to shore. We had to get back in time to eat at Landry’s Seafood. Tim had waited as long as he could for some good ‘ole Cajun Cookin’. The drive home was just as beautiful. The sun setting through the cypress tress was breathtaking. 

We made it back safely, thanked our Captain, and headed to eat at Landry’s.

to be cont…

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We Finally Meet

After an adventurous morning in Pierre Part, we decided to drive back to Duffy’s to see if any of the Landry boys were there. When we arrived there was a small crowd…a sure sign they would be there soon.  We parked the car and ventured our way to the cooler. We saw Bubba Landry and chatted with him until the boys rolled in. 

Jacob was hunting with his younger brother this season, so Mr. Troy was home resting. I spotted his red truck pass by so we quickly made our way to the front of the store. Everyone stood back as he got out of his truck. I shouldn’t surprise you that I was the 1st person to go up to him. I’d been planning this trip for 4 months, I wasn’t about to be last in line lol. He was so kind to us and spent as much time as he could talking with us. I decided it was rude to take up his time and not share him with the other fans, so Tim & I explored his boat. 

It was neat to see all of his “tools” {far lack of a better word} that he used for hunting. I tried to get Tim to sit in it, but he wouldn’t.

After getting our items signed and visiting with Mr. Troy, we headed to the cooler again to wait on Jacob. The camera crew rolled in so we knew the gators were on the way. They had sent word that Jacob had 2 big ones. We had no idea they would be as big as they were. The producer sent Mr. Troy back home to get his blue shirt that he always wears and then they revealed the catch. The crowd stood back as they tossed most of the gators out of the boat and then…the lift pulled up to the boat and removed 2 monster gators. Can I tell you that this was a learning experience for me. They were both males…that’s all I’ll say. 🙂

We got Jacob to sign some items for the kids and took many pictures of these monster creatures. Today was my 1st close encounter with alligators so I was a little nervous about being among them. Not to mention the smell that reeked under the shelter. Mr. Troy told us that once a gator is shot, they vomit. You can imagine how pleasant the smell was. Tim had his phone taking pictures and videos and sending them to the kids and his family. People were going crazy sitting on them and touching them all over. It was almost more than I could handle. And then…Mr. Troy called us over and said, “sit down let’s take a picture.” I can’t tell you how horrified I was…but I did it. Lisa was able to capture the moment on camera. Yes, I was about to cry.

After all of the excitement was over, we went to a local burger joint, Buddy’s Drive-In, for a late lunch. 

The day was far from over. We regrouped {as I like to say} and got ready for a ride on the Party Barge.

to be cont…

 

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the Cajun Michelangelo

Saturday morning we began our day by FINALLY traveling in to Pierre Part, LA {it was only a few minutes from our cabin}. We met Glenn and Lisa and together went to Duffy’s Shell Station for coffee and conversation. As we walked in the door, I quickly spotted Jacob Landry and a few older gentlemen sitting around in the back corner drinking their coffee. When we walked in everyone began their ‘good mornings’ and Jacob was introduced to…the girl on the phone from Georgia and her husband Tim. I spoke with Jacob on the phone a few days before we arrived and I was so excited that I talked the entire time. I’m not even sure that he was able to talk back to me. I can assure you it was a phone call he’ll always remember lol. {Glenn says I sound like Mickey Mouse on crack}. I allowed Tim to have a chance to talk with him {after all, he’d heard enough of me} and their conversation was quickly guided towards the cork board filled with ‘trophy deer’ pictures.

The television crew began coming in getting ready for the big hunt. As Jacob and the crew left, the little men just sat and chatted longer. No one was in a hurry around there. Sort of a nice pace for Tim and I to experience. As we looked around at…well…the service station and the small selection of cajun reeboks I noticed a little man gather up his pan of pancakes and head out. I found it cute that this little man cooks pancakes and takes them up to the store for whoever to eat on.

One of the men told us that Troy had a big gator in the cooler out back and we should take a look at it. This was my first experience with a alligator close up and I was not prepared for the smell. He was HUGE…but not as big as what we saw later that day. 

While at Duffy’s, we met a man named Adam Morales. I overheard Glenn tell him, “yeah, I’ll bring them by.” I had no idea what we were about to encounter. After a nice warm breakfast from a local station/store, we headed to Atchafalaya Swamp Treasures. “The Driftwood Man” aka “the Cajun Michelangelo” had a nice little home buried beneath thousands of pieces of driftwood. Mr. Adam has spent years boating the swamps, looking for pieces to put together, or to just simply add an eye to. I found this video on YouTube that some previous passer-bys videoed: click here. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and art shows. His talent is truly breathtaking.

This piece was one of my favorites. One side is the mother and the other side is the baby. He only added the eyes.

These are the Swamp People. The little boy on the end is Mr. Adams grandson and Mr. Adam is the tall guy on the right.

I thought these turtles were pretty neat as well.

This is one of the few table designated to body parts. THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!

Mr. Adams cypress driftwood art museum was such a unique expereince. We had no idea that we would be going there, but we were so glad we did. He was so kind and he enjoyed showing us what nature has to offer in the swamp. If you’re ever in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area, he’s worth the drive.

Atchafalaya Swamp Treasures   338 South Bay Road  Perre Part, LA  70339

to be cont…

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We arrived

As we traveled I-10 the anticipation of meeting our new Cajun Friends was just about to get the best of me. I had NO IDEA what the weekend would hold, but I knew it would be good. We passed the USS Alabama Battleship, the exits to Biloxi and the sites of New Orleans.

As we approached Bayou Corne we found our little cabin and settled in.

Around 5:30 Jen the photographer arrived for pictures, as did our wedding guests. The preacher, Darren, and his wife Malinda, Glen & Lisa, our host family for the weekend, and Mr. Arnold Blanchard from Tony’s Seafood.

Hadn’t met Mr. Arnold yet {probably the only person in Pierre Part I hadn’t spoken to on the phone} but he was so kind to stop by and give Tim & I a welcoming gift. If you can see this close enough and know me well enough, you’re asking, “what will Jaye do with this?” I asked myself the same thing lol. I think I’ll get a few more lessons from our new Cajun family before opening the box. 🙂

We had a great ceremony on the wharf by the bayou {I think I said that correctly} and enjoyed cake with our new friends. Afterwards, Tim & I went to the Grapevine {which was so unique and delicious}. We settled in our little cabin on the bayou excited about what Saturday would bring. Little did we know that it would be as amazing as it was.

to be cont…

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and we’re off!

With months of secret planning, and the help of my friend Shanna, operation Secret Anniversary Trip was on. The kids were in safe hands with Katy, Mandy, and my mother mainly in charge, so I was at ease with our long trek. Tim has known my desire to travel to Vegas and let Elvis renew our vows {how romantic I know lol}, so he felt strongly that was what I was planning.  We began our trip on Thursday and he had an idea where we were going. We traveled to Pensacola {to break the trip in half} to see our good friends John & Jennifer {AKA the Good-Lookin’ Couple}.

With John & Jennifer in on the secret, we had a great visit and then off to bed with a “have fun in Vegas” slip up from John. Jennifer arranged our wedding cake so I snuck it in the jeep while Tim was getting ready. We left their place Friday morning and had a surprise breakfast {which Tim figured out as well} with our friends Josh & Kristin. Josh & Kristin are in ministry in Pensacola at Liberty Church. When we first met, we connected with them instantly!

With our belly’s full and Tim’s mind rolling with the good advice that Josh shared…we were off. I felt sure that Tim had it figured out by now, but he was sure we were boarding in New Orleans. We decided it was time to share the surprise. After telling him the story, starting back in June, he drove in disbelief. I tried to video his reaction, but there wasn’t one. Silence. He honestly didn’t believe that we were traveling to Pierre Part, LA, to hang with some people we didn’t know. After he processed the change from Vegas to Pierre Part, he got a bit excited.

to be cont…

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