It's beginning to feel a lot like Summer here on Amelia Island, which means it's time to give away all our beach favorites: a Yeti Roadie, a pair of Telescope Casual beach chairs, and two Turkish beach towels, valued at $575! Enter now, and we'll announce a winner on Thursday, May 25th, just in time for Memorial Day. It's easy - get started below (and tell everyone you know because friends don't let friends miss great giveaways).
Flying into Cape Town, South Africa was amazing; I have always believed the most beautiful landscape is where the mountains meet the ocean. I mean, why pick just one?! As we began our descent, I had a unique vantage point - one that we are not typically privy to unless¬†in flight. From that small plane window, I noticed the lushness of the landscape in the valley of the mountain range. Being a Florida girl, I don't know much about mountains, so I leaned over and asked my husband why. His answer was simple, and something I probably should have known (I blame exhaustion from the 23-hour flight), but the way he said it hit me... "There's fertile soil in the valleys." My heart skipped a beat. This is so true. We went on about our trip and explored as much as we could in the 8 days we had there. A few days were spent in those lush valleys enjoying small tastes of its fruit's juice and great food, the others, spent working our way to the mountain tops to soak in the views. As we "hiked" (in our flip flops) to the peaks, we were tired and (some of us) needed to catch our breath along the way. But once we arrived, we instantly forgot the pain it took to get there because of the spectacular views - the ones that photographs can't even begin to capture. The¬†funny thing, once we were able to take a look around, and snap a couple selfies, we couldn't (and honestly wouldn't want to) stay there all day. I believe this is why people make millions selling t-shirts and other souvenirs at the top. You can't stay there forever, but you want something to help you remember the feeling, the view, and to be able to tell others about your experience - proof you have been there. Beyond said souvenir stand, there is not much work to be done at the top. That's not where the most fertile soil is. The valleys are where we grow, where our faith grows, and where the fruit is produced - where we learn more about who God created us to be, who He is, and what He wants to do through us. I had the opportunity to visit some of our very best friends' church, The Journey Church Livonia, this past weekend, and while teaching on God's promises, Pastor Bill Comai said,¬†"The gap between when God says it and when you see it is where faith grows." That's the valley, friends. Valleys aren't bad - they are necessary, and without them, there would be no peaks. See, from where I was in that plane - above it all - I had a grander perspective. I could see the mountaintops and the valleys. The whole picture. From God's perspective (like mine in the plane that day), He knows where we are and where we are headed. He has ordained it all - the mountains we are facing from the valley or the peaks we are standing atop. As we prepare to launch Cape House, some days feel like an uphill climb - like we are never going to be able to relax and take a selfie of that view from the top. But I am reminded as long as we stay planted, fully rooted in the One who guides, we can be confident that He will produce fruit through us along the way. So, if you are in the valley, huffing and puffing in your flip flops, remember to keep your eyes fixed on the One who knows your next step. If you are on your mountaintop, take a moment to acknowledge the valley you just came out of, thank God for what He did in your life while you were there, and then keep moving - there is more work to be done. xo,
Some time ago,¬†we read (and fell in love with) Shauna Niequist's book Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes. In it, she details the value of community - and how we connect with friends and family around the table. In the bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to forget just how life-giving these meaningful relationships are. We go-go-go - sacrificing the time to foster the friendships that nourish us and sustain us. After all, we were never meant to do life alone. As a takeaway, we established Supper Club: each month, we get together with close friends to try new recipes and catch up. It's a highlight for all of us - we alternate homes, have fun creatively setting the table, and try new recipes - all in an effort to pour into those relationships. This month, with Cinco de Mayo (and Summer) quickly approaching, we decided to¬†feature decor and recipes inspired south of the border! The key to decor here: simple and affordable¬†(in fact, most items came from the dollar store!) An authentic Mexican falsa served as table cloth under¬†textured chargers, white paper flags,¬†and simple, sculpted bright white dishware.¬†The centerpieces: simple glass vases filled with succulents, cacti, and pebbles. These natural elements also served as place cards - and favors. One of our favorite details: the¬†cacti glasses that added a bit of whimsy to the table. Add candles, and you've got a beautiful tablescape that couldn't have been easier to create! This month's menu featured a variety of flavorful courses, from fresh guacamole to Jalapeno Popper Chorizo Taquitos, scratch made Barbacoa, and Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars for dessert. And don't forget, #allthequeso. We've shared all the recipes below - just in time for your own Cinco de Mayo get-together! QUESO // 5 Ingredient White Queso by The Baking Fairy PICO DE GALLO // Pico de Gallo via Food.com TAQUITOS // Jalapeno Popper Chorizo Taquitos with Creamy Avocado Sauce via Host the Toast BARBACOA // Tender Beef Barbacoa Chipotle Tacos via Serious Eats DESSERT //¬†The Best and Easiest Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Domestic Rebel As we kick of this monthly blog series, our hope is that you're inspired to create your own Supper Club! The heart of our mission is to inspire and assist in creating environments that bring people together. So, we encourage you to set aside time to try these - or your own recipes - to make life's moments memorable. ¬†¬†
‚ÄúThe heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It's about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.‚Äù
‚Äï Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes
Throughout history names have contained great significance. Names are how people identify with who we are. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the most popular and influential self-help books ever written changed his surname from ‚ÄúCarnagey‚Äù to ‚ÄúCarnegie‚Äù early in his career. At the time, Andrew Carnegie was one of the world‚Äôs most successful businessmen and philanthropists. Dale didn‚Äôt claim a family connection but realized it made business sense for people to make the link. This past week eight letters and an ampersand were installed on the exterior of 4810 First Coast Highway. In a season of anticipation and excitement for the new home and hospitality boutique opening this summer in Amelia Island, Cape House will begin to take shape in the minds and impressions of people. It was surreal to see the logo on display and a good reminder of the opportunity we have to bring the brand to life. Not through a name, but rather a lifestyle and ultimately a legacy. It‚Äôs why we are focused on giving back before we even open the doors. While we will continually focus on adding value to our customers and our community, ultimately there will be another name with greater importance and significance we adhere to: Christ-Follower. Any potential success of Cape House¬†will pale in comparison to the eternal influence we have. The environments we desire to create are about bringing people together to make the most of the moments. Proverbs 22:1 says, ‚ÄúA good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver and gold.‚Äù We invite you to be a part of the journey with us and to make the most of the opportunities together. Let‚Äôs make His name famous.