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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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On Thursday night, my friends and I decided that we were going to go to a country concert at Coyote Joe’s. It was a reunion of sorts of folks from college and a collision of new friends. A group of girls and a guy. The only guy, a husband of a college friend. All I have to say, is BRAVE man!

This was on our way into the bar. You know, anytime is the prime time for a photo opportunity and our professional photographer is…drum roll please…Ryan, the only guy who came with us.

Once inside, we danced a little, hung out with each other, and sat is saddles.

Ok…I sat on a saddle. The bartender was quite nice and he gave me maraschino cherries and for anyone who knows me, they know that I’m a sucker for cherries. Yum!

Finally, Easton Corbin came on stage and I never realized how DARN cute he is!

I mean, you can’t tell me you don’t agree…

And he put on a good show, we had a great time and we will be heading back for other concerts in the near future!

I LOVE these girls! We always have so much fun together!

Until later!

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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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I rarely make New Years resolutions because they don’t usually turn out well. Most people don’t succeed with their New Years resolutions because it is such a sudden change to their routines, and I refuse to be one who pretends that a spontaneous lifestyle change will work for me.

However, this year, I decided to make a change.

Oh yes, I have put a New Years resolution into place and I think this is one that should have been put in place a long time ago.

Dum, Dum, Dum!!

My New Years resolution is to do more for myself.

For those of you who know me, I am a bit of a workaholic. I have two jobs and I’m working kind of crazy hours and have a high stress level. Nevertheless, I am thankful for where I am in my life and I am looking forward to finding out where this path leads.

So, because I work hard, I have recently decided to play hard as well. My first order of business is to begin a pottery class where I learn how to use a potter’s wheel.

That class begins next Thursday. A week from today. And apparently I misheard the beginning date because I went tonight to try to begin the class. When I pulled up, there was no one there and the store was dark. Only in my life would I make such a silly mistake!

This happens to be a regular occurrence though…I should be used to it by now.

Another thing that I’m doing for myself is preparing for a run…

…the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC that takes place at the end of March. It is a 10k and I plan to do this run with my roommate and best friend Amanda.

I probably will never classify myself as a runner, however I have participated in multiple races over the past 8 months or so and I have begun to enjoy running…WHAT? Enjoy running?? I know, I said it.

Weird.

Anyway, my roommate is a runner, but she also had ankle surgery about 2 years ago that she has been unable to return from like she expected. So, we are going with the mentality that when we run, we will run hard, but if we have to walk, then so be it. I’m beginning my training in the morning. That is because Fridays are rest days in my running journal.

Oh boy! Welcome to the New Year!

What are your New Years Resolutions?

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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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