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    by Amy Chappelle



I have been called a beach bum… I claim it with pride. I get it honest. My mom taught me how to thoroughly let go and relax the moment your senses see, feel, hear, smell or touch a beach. I remember driving to the Gulf and as we get close, she would roll down the windows and say, “smell that, we are here.” It is like something clicks in my head and my whole self just says ahhhhhh. I know this is why Bryan has brought me back here time and time again. He says that he likes me this way. I must work on being more like this all the time. Or, he could just move us there. That would be the easiest right? Anyways, I can’t imagine more beautiful, unspoiled beaches than what are here. I haven’t traveled the world, but I have seen a fair amount of beaches ranging from Mexico, Bahamas, Jamaica to name a few. I have yet to set foot on Hawaii. Maybe one day….

What makes St. John special is many of the beaches are National park. There are no hotels, homes, etc on them. You are surrounded my nature. It’s simply beautiful.

Solomon beach:

It is a nice hike to get here, but it is so worth it. I think this was my favorite beach from this trip. We had it to ourselves most of the day. The water was calm and beautiful. On the way back up, we added about a mile to the hike by turning the wrong way. It was nice to get some exercise after being so incredibly lazy.

Maho. It is a big smimming pool. Shallow and large, it is a family favorite. It is also where you have the best chances of swimming with turtles or stingrays. We also saw beautiful starfish here this time :

We were chased off from here by a large family. Not griping, as we are parents and completely understand how difficult it is to handle such situations. We did  get a giggle out of watching them. There was a mom and dad that were parents to 5 little girls. They looked to range in age from 3 -14. A grandmother had accompanied them. Instead of taking turns to snorkel, these parents were determined that all would go together at once. This lead to the 2 littlest ones screaming. The oldest always yelling for mom to come over to see what she had found. The grandmother yelling that she would get the little one in a minute. That dad yelling that he would help in a minute…. One of the cutest sayings of the trip, came from the littlest one though. Once she was calmed down and in the shallow, we heard, “Mommy, I can’t swim because all the minnows are in my lap”. Precious.

Francis. Steps from our house is another large, beautiful, Caribbean swimming pool. It is also a great place to see stingrays and turtles:

Denis. We love this beach. It was our fav. last trip. This trip, the water was a little too rough to snorkle or stay in too much. But, as expected, it is a very lonesome beach. We tucked ourselves under a tree in front of some ruins and settled in for the day. This beach once served as a fishing launch site and there are some post still standing as a reminder of the earlier venture. These post grace my stair way. I thought they were so beautiful last time we were here that I took pictures and turned them into canvas’.

Who drinks coffee on the beach???? Only Bryan. Note he had to carry that all the way down the hiking trail.

The famous Trunk: We were not too excited about Trunk, initially. Our thinking was that it was the “touristy” thing to do. We had been in prior trips when Cruise shippers had come in and it just sort of turned us off, if you will. But this time, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We went to the very end of the beach and found a nice hang out for the day. We had forgotten how large and beautiful this beach is. So glad we came. It has a snorkel trail here that is fun to do. Also, it is a nice perk to have a snack bar and beach shop.

From the look out: Famous Trunk Bay:

On the beach:


My favorite image from trip taken at Trunk:

We had a SouthShore Day at Salt Pond:

This was Bryan’s favorite snorkeling day. He also wore his Auburn hat here and as we were hiking back up, we heard “War Eagle”. Turns out we were not the only AU grads on the island. Great times.


“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.”
– Helen Keller



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We are back…

From our happy place… St. John. Five years ago, we stepped foot on this island for our 10 year anniversary. It was our first vacation together since our honeymoon. We were so close to going to a Sandals or other All-Inclusive. Thankfully, someone Bryan worked with at the time told him about St. John and we decided to give it a try. This place will forever call us back, I believe.

We had sort of a comedy of errors traveling to and fro. I think Bryan is going to write about these later and he will do a better job than me. We were glad to get there…

We returned to  a cottage that we had stayed at 3 years ago. It is such a unique little house. It is very small, but has everything we need. You have to have a four wheel drive to get there some days, which just adds to the fun for Bryan. The house is tucked into a side of the mountain in the woods. We enjoyed frequent visits from all types of wildlife. Sugarbirds show up looking for sugar water that they are accustomed to receiving from a bowl on the porch. However, this time there was no sugar to be found in the house. We did remember to pick some up at the grocery store to find out upon unpacking the groceries that our sugar was actually flour. Roosters and chickens roamed around some. We  saw deer. The funniest encounter was a donkey. Donkeys were brought over to St. John to work on the plantations many moons ago. Bryan had his first stand off with one. When we came home, we found a mommie Donkey with its baby in our tiny little path to the house. So, Bryan honked the horn, got out and tried to make it run off. All Bryan did, was make it mad. It stomped back at grunted at him. With no other way inside, we weren’t sure how long this could go on. Thankfully, baby ran down the hill and mommie followed. We were free to enter.


The views we enjoyed from this little place:

Our friend for the week:

The note we had left in the guestbook a few years earlier:


Lots of good memories.

On another note, I am happy that Bryan has started a blog:

He has always been a great writer and loves to travel when he gets the chance. I am glad that he decided to keep records of it.


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Spanish Chapel


Our Spanish Teacher, Mrs. Bukowski, prepares a great Spanish Chapel once a year. Sarah was looking forward to it. Caleb, well, he was going to have to dance with a girl and that wasn’t too exciting to him.

Mrs. Bukowski gets them all dressed up in Mexican clothes. I like that we can see our Sam peeking from behind the girls.

The Kindergarden Performance. Look closely and you can see Caleb in the background.

Fourth Grade. Caleb’s performance face, once again:

This could possibly be the funniest dance I’ve seen yet. The boys were supposed to be a “snake”. They danced around the girls, who screamed out every now and then. It was a lot of fun! Caleb was glad it when it was over.

Great way to start the day.

On another note, Nana is on her way. Yah!

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Special Day

We had a special day for our family last Sunday.  Caleb and Sarah were baptized at our church, WoodsEdge.

The kids had asked Jesus into their hearts a while back, but were not quite ready for baptism.

Sarah, when she was four, had the sweetest prayer. She said, ” Lord Jesus, I am sorry for when I do bad things. Will you come live in my heart and help me be a better princess?” I’ll never forget it. This little girl has had such a heart for God. She is our resident prayer warrior. You will never get a simple blessing from Sarah… You must know if she tells you she will pray about something then you are covered….over and over again. She has such a compassionate heart too. One common theme in her prayers is “Lord, if someone doesn’t have a home, let us adopt them (I’m not quite there yet, but admire my daughter) and if they don’t know God, let us tell them”.  She just asked me out of the blue today if we could go around the world and help people and tell them about Jesus. UM, Well Yes, Sarah we can. She said, “Tomorrow?”

Caleb was five when he made the decision to have Jesus as his Savior. He too had such a heartfelt simple prayer.Caleb, while not as passionate or exuberant as his little sister, has such a quiet, strong faith. I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  I pray that his love for the Bible will continue to grow and take root in his heart. I believe God has big plans for him. It is such an honor to be his mom and watch it all unfold.

Recently, the church announced that they would have a baptism opportunity for the kids. We would need to take a class and sign up. We asked the kids if they were interested. They were more than interested, they were excited.

The class really made it clear what Baptism actually is.

These are some of the points made:

  • Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward commitment.
  • We believe the Bible teaches us that Baptism does not save you, Jesus does.
  • Baptism is an act of obedience. We get baptized to obey God’s Word. Matthew 28:19

The baptism ceremony took place in the back of our church. There is a small pool. They encouraged parents to be involved which I thought was super cool. Bryan actually got in the water with the kids and baptized them, while I was close by. A pastor was in the water with them. For our crew, Sarah went first:

Sarah told me later that she was not just pushed under like she thought she would be. She went on to tell me that daddy held her like a princess and gently put her under the water.

Then Caleb:

I believe we all will remember this day for the rest of our lives. My heart is so full as I think about it. I am so blessed to know that no matter what this world holds for us, that my family will be together for good in heaven.

One thing that was so special is that we shared this day with some of our close friends and family. We missed you Nana and Papa.


Happy Memories.

God is Good.


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Writer’s Cafe

The 4rth Grade class has worked hard on their writing assignments this year. They hosted a Writer’s Cafe as a way to show the parents and grandparents what they have been working on.

Caleb met Mimi and I outside the class room with his “Waiter’s” attire…. PRECIOUS…. He sat us at the table he had prepared for us. He made our name tags and menus.

They began by singing us a quick song…Caleb, as usual, looked like he could just bust out laughing:

Caleb asked us if we were ready for our Appetizer. This was a piece, named Fishing.

He continued with the Salad, Entree, and Dessert. These were all so interesting and fun… His persuasive speech was “Why his parents need to buy him a Lab?” Bryan wants to know if he can write a rebuttal to this one.  He wrote another one about his first deer hunt and several other funny stories.

I told him he did a great job and we are so proud of him.

He said, “I take tips”.

Love him.



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