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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Sadness

Today, children of elementary school age experienced a tragedy. Some lived, some died. I’m not going to say much because there isn’t much to say beyond, pray.

Pray for the children whose school no longer feels safe to them.

Pray for the children who have lost fellow students.

Pray for the teachers who have lost colleagues.

Pray for teachers who lost a principal, leader, encouraged, and who was a positive light for the school.

Pray for a community which has been devastated by death, horror, confusion, anger, and sadness.

Pray for a country who needs to support each other.

Pray for our President who has the power to make decisions which can change the future of this nation. May he not use the sorrow, pain, and furry of this outrage to pass laws.

Pray for peace.

Most of all, pray for the families who have lost children, and may all of those souls be gather around their eternal Father. The One who has given us life and The One who can take it away.

Finally, pray for the family of Adam Lanza. While I know that he is not a popular person and one that I absolutely despise. One who I do not respect, do not care for, and do not understand. Pray for his family, as I’m sure that they are just as confused, stunned, and heartbroken as the rest of the families who have lost a loved one.

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Whispering

Do you ever feel like time is just passing you by? Like your life is on the big screen at a movie theater and you are sitting in the audience watching your daily interactions. Do you ever think, “Wow, that was a good move!,” or maybe, “Eww, that was not cool. Better try harder next time.” Sometimes I stop and take a look back at my life and say, “Man, I got really pissed over nothing. I wish that I hadn’t said that.”

Some days, I feel like I have more control than others.

Control over my emotions. Control over my tongue. Control over my destiny.

Or do I?

After much encouragement by my father, I have begun to try to do a daily devotional. Well, ultimately it is supposed to be a daily devotional, but at this point, it is really more of an every two to three day devotional. I have gotten so out of the practice of sitting down and spending time with God.

I’m trying to get better Dad, really.

Maybe once I get better at doing a regular devotional (preferably daily), I will have more clarity on what comes “next.”

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

I was reading a daily devotional today. I usually just go online and search “daily devotional” and whatever pops up and looks interesting, I click on it, read it, think about it, compare the scripture to my Bible, and then write something. Anything, really.

Ironically, today’s devotional hit the nail on the proverbial head. The passage comes from James 1:19-21 and it reads, “19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

Yep. So, this takes me back to my previous statement of wanting to be able to rewind the day, tap myself on the shoulder and say, “uh, uh, uh…Do you really want to say that?” and if I still choose not to listen, a punch might suffice.

I need daily reminding of biting my tongue and being a listener first. I think this an excellent reminder for me because it I can quiet all of the noise, chatter, and distractions going on in my brain and shut up to listen sometimes, I might be able to hear God’s whispers. You know, sometimes He whispers, and sometimes He roars. This passage was a ROAR to me. I needed to shut up and listen to the whispers He is breathing into my ears and the hopes, dreams, and sacrifices he is laying on my heart.

When was the last time you let go of the control and listened to the whispers from God?

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Biltmore Extravaganza!

Yesterday, my family and I went to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Well…I should say my parents and “family friends,” but I claim them as family because they are so awesome! You see, the last time I went to the Biltmore Estate, I was probably around six or seven years old.

That was a long time ago.

I was much too young to have sampled the delicious wine or to have truly enjoyed the food that the Biltmore Estate has to offer.

Since I was there last, many more rooms have been added to the tour and they have a self guided audio tour now as well that provided us with lots of history about each room in the house as well as the people who lived and visited in each room.

When we first got there, it was snowing. Yes, snowing!! I was like a five year old at Christmas! I LOVE the snow, and seeing the Biltmore House in the snow was like icing on the cake!

Unfortunately, we were not able to take photographs inside the house, but I was able to get several exterior photographs.

Attached and to the right of the house, was the barn. Well, it used to be a barn. Now it houses a gift shop and a confectionary where people were able to get souvenirs and sweet treats. Yum!

When we came back out, it was no longer snowing, but the wind was incredibly harsh. It was hovering around 30 degrees.

I named the lions on either side of the front door Leo and Lena. Oh yeah, those names are going to stick!

I forgot how intricate the details of the house are. It is incredible that a house of this magnitude actually housed a family. A baby was born here, there was a family for 5 St. Bernard dogs here, and there were frequent visitors that stayed for weeks at a time. They would swim in the lighted (underwater that is) pool and exercise in the fully equipped gym.

To the right of the front door, you can see on the first level roof that there is a glass roof. This is directly over the indoor “winter garden.”

Here is a closer look…

It is so cool to me that even in the 1800s, the technology that there was in this time.

Then, there is the spiral staircase. It was probably one of my favorite parts of the house. Of course, I was only able to take a picture of it from outside of the house, but it is still as beautiful.

So beautiful!!

The experience of the Biltmore would not have been as fun without my family. Mom, Dad, Larry, Diann, and Leslie were all there with me and I would not have been able to go without each of them.

There is nothing better than family and friends. Life would not be nearly as exciting or  wonderful without friends and family. This was after our tour. We were waiting on the shuttle to take us back to our parking lot so we could go have lunch. At this point, we were famished!

Then, it was on to the Bistro at Antler Hill Village  where we had an INCREDIBLE meal complete with appetizers and dessert, each part being my favorite, and I’m going to make you wait for that one.

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Ok, so I know I’m running late on this post, but sometimes, I can’t do it all and posting occasionally has to take the back seat.

However, now that I’m here, I’m going to catch you up.

During the week between Christmas and New Years, I decided to take a week off. Yep, a whole entire week. Wow! I don’t believe that I have done that in quite sometime, but it was COMPLETELY worth it!

For the first half of the week, I went to Durham and spent time with my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and parents. It was quite eventful, but at this time we are spending time on the second half of the week. That was when I took a trip up to Boone.

Every time I take a trip to Boone, it is always an adventure because I stay with a good friend of mine, named Wendy and her two precious little girls named Grace and SaraBeth. Let’s just say that Wendy has a whirlwind of a life and usually I just get caught up and go along with it. You know, I’m pretty easy going like that…especially when I’m on vacation.

So, first thing when I get there, we headed to the ski mountain in order to let the kids go snow tubing. By the time we got there, there was only one run that was open and the session had been sold out, therefore, we had to decide on something else.

Instead, we went up to Beech Mountain and allowed the kids to go sledding (for FREE).

Take a look at how much fun they had…

Even the adults went sledding.

So…

…much…

…fun!

The big kids really wanted to go skiing…that is, at first.

They decided that sledding was just as fun.

I love these girls!

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After living in Charlotte for several months. I have finally gathered the courage to begin my search for a church to attend while I live here. Finding a church is always such a difficult process for me because I have grown up in the same church, and though there is so much drama and annoying things about the church I grew up in, it is my own. I grew up there. I know everyone, and everyone knows me. It is a home for me.

I mean really, tell me how you can top the beauty of my home church. This picture was actually taken after the Christmas Eve service. Its amazing to see how peaceful a church is after everyone has gone home.

However, I don’t live in Shelby anymore. This changes things because driving home every Sunday simply isn’t an option.

So, the search ensues.

Today, I visited a Dilworth  Church. It is United Methodist Congregation which is the denomination in which I grew up. The sanctuary is GORGEOUS. There is lots of stained glass and details along the ceiling and windows that I find incredibly beautiful. The people were friendly and I was personally welcomed by several of the church members.

You know, the members can make for break the church and the experience.

I plan on going back and soon.

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Merry Christmas

It’s the time of year where ample baking takes place. There is egg nog in the grocery store and candles are lit that fill the room with the smell of Christmas. The tree is lit and adorned with ornaments from Christmases past and presents are piled underneath the tree. There are carols on the radio that have stood the test of time and are still enjoyed by children of all ages. We go to church to see old friends and meet new friends. We worship together, play together, and party together.

This is what we refer to the spirit of Christmas.

All through this season, we bake cookies, cakes, and all sorts of sweet treats to share with our friends and family to express our love and appreciation. We linger a little longer in conversations that we would normally cut short. We take the time to not only ask the questions, but wait for the answers. Although there is hustle and bustle in the stores, I find myself strolling through the mall looking at the decorations and watching the children in line waiting to speak with Santa.

What is Christmas about? Why is there such a hype?

Of course we all know that this is Jesus’ birthday. He was born in a lowly manger filled with hay, surrounded by animals. A baby, but not just any baby, The Baby. That is what this season is about. The little babe who was born in a stable in Bethlehem who in the end saved us all.

Its about family and friends and sharing love with each other. Its about taking the time to appreciate what you have and realizing what the important things are in life.

I realize more and more each day to cherish those important things. To take the time to appreciate them is the key so that those people know that you care about them. Remember that.

Merry Christmas!

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Happily Ever After

One of my college friends got married this weekend. She had been dating the same guy for several years and they are head over heels for each other. So, this summer, soon after graduation, he proposed and of course she was ecstatic and she cried.

Well, this was the big weekend and the ceremony was beautiful! I was part of her big day and I felt so lucky to be there with her. My part was to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 while they were lighting the unity candle. It was wonderful to be able to watch their faces. The emotion that they had during the ceremony was beautiful, and I got to see every bit of it!

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Here stood the bridal party during the reception, watching their first dance as husband and wife. It was beautiful!

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Another of my college friends read in the ceremony as well and of course we had to take a picture next to the Christmas tree!

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At the reception, there were two cakes, the groom’s cake which was chocolate with chocolate mousse and chocolate chips and nuts on the outside. YUM! The other, was the traditional wedding cake and it was SUPER Yummy! Of course I enjoyed a piece of both!

This was the chocolate groom’s cake.

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And this was the wedding cake that I didn’t get a picture of until we had eaten most of the piece of cake. Luckily, this was a good cake.

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To send the bride and groom off on their honeymoon, the people in attendance lit sparklers. It was so beautiful because it was pitch black and it gave suck a beautiful lighting to everyone’s faces.

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We had a wonderful time and I truly enjoyed seeing friends from college that I haven’t seen in 6 months too long.
Lots of love and happiness to the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Mason!!

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