Scenes of Savannah

There’s just something about the South.

IMG_3560Maybe it’s the twang in the accents, the smiling at strangers,

Or maybe it’s the details.

IMG_3553I mean, where else are you going to find fish gutters?

Southerners are all about presentation.

IMG_3613I made a quick trip to Savannah to celebrate my Bride-to-be friend (gal pal on my left in this pic).

This November bride could not have picked a better place to explore.

IMG_3617We stopped every 3 steps to take a picture of every beautiful thing we saw… but this may have been mine and Laine’s favorite find. #MontgomeryGals

IMG_3592But Abbey’s favorite was the candy store.

I’ve never in my life seen a place like this.

In that pic ^, Abbey has just spotted a Tootsie Pop bigger than her head… she really was like a kid in a candy store.

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Next stop was the Savannah Bee Company.

 Never have I tasted  SO. MUCH. HONEY.

IMG_3625But it was amazing to say the least.

IMG_3559The places we explored and the scenes of Savannah we saw were nothing in comparison to the company I had to explore it with.

IMG_3660 (1)When adult life comes in faster than you can say “don’t”, you really take captive the time you have to visit with one another.

IMG_3656At one point in our exploration, the Bride-to-be, who was my first ever friend in college, came up next to me and put her arm around me.

IMG_3563I quickly returned the favor and the two of us walked, without words, as we explored.

We knew we looked weird.

It’s fine.

We haven’t lived in the same city in over a year.

And we had to soak in friendship time together while we could.

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Sometimes you have to soak in the moments with the scenery.

Because before you know it, you’re back to reality and your friendships are made up of sporadic phone calls and texting.

But the part that excites me most, is that no matter how little we see of one another,

we still get to celebrate in the events of each other’s lives.

IMG_3652We get to create new memories, in new seasons, with new experiences,

all because our past made us friends in the first place.

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Until next time Savannah,

you treated us with the greatest Southern Hospitality,

and some awesome corn bread (Thanks Paula Dean).

Valiant Cross Academy: Rise Above

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed.  Never throw out anyone.”- Audrey Hepburn

I took a detour downtown Tuesday morning, to a place that kept my eyes tear-filled and my heart throbbing with pride.

Valiant Cross Academy.

An all boys, private Christian School, smack dab in the heart of Montgomery.

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A new school to town, only up and running around 2 months, but the power that this school holds makes it feel like it’s been here all along.

I rang the front door to the school, nervous, hoping that they would be ok with me just prancing through with my camera and a smile… 🙂

They totally were.  In fact, you could tell these boys were used to visitors. 

I walked into the Language & Social Studies class and was immediately greeted by “the visiting coordinator”.

IMG_3678THIS^^^ adorable little fella (AKA visiting coordinator) immediately rose from his seat, walked over to me, shook my hand, and introduced himself.  The confidence was present and he wanted to show me ALL that he was learning.

He took me to his computer to show me how he was learning to write a letter.

He wanted me to see how his computer “lets your letters change if you don’t like how they look”.  He said “Mrs. Bell, it’s called ‘changing your font’… its very fancy.”

AH, my heart.

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The teacher looked up and said “class, we have a visitor, let’s tell her hello.”

and they did.

with a beat.

One boy started a beat, one boy started the chant, and then they all joined in.

all to simply say hello.

I was BEAMING.

I continued walking around the class, and stopped when I saw one of the boys writing a letter to one who is so dear to my heart.

IMG_3682I knelt down.

“What’s your name?”

“Cameron” he replied.

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“Im Laura Jean, what’s your last name?” I smiled back.

“Bell” he said.

“Mine too!” I said.

“You’re my Sister then!” he said, hoping I understood what he meant.

 TOTALLY.

We immediately exchanged high fives when we realized we were kin.

#kingdomkin

IMG_3675These sharp young men have no clue that they are making history.

They have no clue that they are changing the course of their own lives and the lives to come after them.

They have no clue how far they are going to go in life.

They have no clue how many are touched by their lives.

IMG_3692 2I couldn’t help but marvel at the stories that were shared with me by their staff.

The stories of God’s unending faithfulness as this school was being built and how it continues to build.

These kids are the product of a city that sent a shock wave around the world.

The events and moments that happened right outside the doors to their school 50 + years ago was merely a foreshadowing to the glory that the Lord would unfold through THEM.

They are the future.

Sharp. Smart. Spirit Led.

IMG_3698What made my heart ooze with pride was more than just seeing a bunch of sharp dressed 12 year old boys…

It was meeting the men who are leading them.

IMG_3695These boys have confidence, renewed minds, strength, courage, and dignity, because there are men in their lives who are telling them daily that they are capable… adequate… enough.

They remind them that they are warriors.

They remind them that no matter what happens in their lives that they can rise above.

IMG_3694They are important to them.

When someone makes you feel important, the level of respect you have for them goes beyond what could imagine.

Those students respect their leaders, because their leaders value them.

Instead of giving these boys fish for the day, they are teaching them HOW to fish.

They are educating them with knowledge and the love of Christ.

To the leaders and all who have journeyed to make Valiant Cross Academy a reality, we see you, we notice you, we appreciate you. Because without you, this marvelous place wouldn’t exist.

IMG_3696We are a city that has struggled to stay above water for decades.

We are city that changed the course of history, on more than one occasion.

We are a city that hosted crime.

We are city that celebrated freedom.

We are a city that changed the world,

and Valiant Cross Academy is changing generations.

The Market at Chapel Hill

October 3, 2015

A day that will be written in the book of BEST.

Before Cody and I started our coffee cart business, we released a video, sharing our business model and what we were planning to do.

Within 24 hours, we received a phone call asking us to be the coffee providers for The Market at Chapel Hill at The Waters.

We were blown away by the invite but SO thrilled to get to be a part of it all!

That exhausting, freezing, cold, wet, and rainy day was one for the books.

The night before it opened, we had dinner with all the vendors.

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I happened upon this sweet lady.

MissMustardSeed , as everyone calls her, was so gracious to my lack of knowledge on anything DIY.  We snagged this shot for my friend charlotte, who is a real-life #fangirl.

Miss Mustard Seed, her hubby, and two helpers were our BIGGEST customers on Saturday and we were so thankful we could have BURST.

imageWe woke at 5 am the next morning, a whole EXTRA hour of sleep for the Bells. 🙂

We were really joyful about that.

My sweet Aunt and Uncle hosted us in their home, let us fill it with coffee aroma …and grounds.

They were so gracious in helping us prepare for the most hectic day of our business career… the whole whopping 2 months of it.

Did I mention that October 3 was exactly 2 months for us with Market Town… we were a little excited about it!

image People loved the Market Town Mugs, AND our hot coffee.

We sold almost all of our mugs and so much coffee that our hands were stained by it.

imageSO many people have asked us who our coffee providers are!

Goat Hill Coffee Roasters 🙂

Cody and decided to brand our roasting business. We had to say goodbye to Bell Blend due to excess sales and new blends of coffee we roasted!  We were excited to share with others our roasting business there too!

it was a HIT! 

We brought bags of the coffee, our Montgomery T shirts, and Greeting Cards done by Nalin Khantisouryia.

If you loved Bell Blend, don’t worry, Goat Hill still carries the original.  Click the link to Goat Hill and subscribe to monthly coffee bags to your door!

imageMy sweet Mama and Aunt, Kathy, joined our business team!

Let. Me. Tell. You.

Those two can SELL.

We sold so much stuff because they are

1)Fabulous

2)Beautiful women

3) They REALLY love our coffee, shirts, and Nalin’s cards.

It was just a win-win situation.

imageWe were set up next to a yummy bakery from Union Springs, so people just HAD to have Coffee with their treats!

We sold hundreds and hundreds of cups of coffee.  

We shared our story with hundreds and hundreds of people.

We met hundreds and hundreds that already knew our story and supported us.

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Surely there were angels surrounding us, helping us move quickly and still sometimes look at each other and smile.

Cody Bell swooped me up at one point in a big excited hug and kissed my forehead.

I couldn’t tell if I was happier to be hugged for warmth from the bitter wind or if I was just swooning over that fine man. 

It was probably a little bit of both.

There were so many times where I looked at that sweet man of mine and thought… ‘wow, what did I do to deserve a man who wants to bless people so much?’image

To say that that day was blessed beyond measure, is a complete understatement.

It is treasured in hearts.

We sure do hope we can see all you fine folks of Pike Road, Alabama again next year!