Monday, August 18, 2008


#5...You have no control over the amount of time you have with those you love...enjoy and take advantage of every precious moment...don't regret anything...cherish the time you have!

6 years ago today was one of the worst days of my life. It was 6 years ago today that I learned that my dad had passed away. I was a naive 22 year old getting ready to start her 2nd year of teaching. I never in a million years would have expected to hear the words I heard that Sunday morning. Even today, I am blown away by the sudden loss of my daddy. I wish I could say that I took advantage of every second with him...that I always told him how I felt...hugged him when we said good bye...but I didn't. I know there were times that I walked out his door and never even thought to tell him I loved him. How I wish I had that time back. These past 6 years have been full of so many accomplishments, firsts, and happy memories that I wish I could have shared with my dad. I often find myself wanting to pick up the phone and tell him about my crazy day at school or to get him to tell me what to do to fix my car. I look at my favorite picture of the two of us and my heart aches for a big bear know the kind that only a dad can give his daughter. If only time had stood still and I could have told him how much I loved him. If only I could have told him that I was so proud of him and that he had challenged me to be a better person. If only I could have told him how much I admired his strength and his determination to overcome a disease that had a strong hold on his life. But for now, I have to just share those thoughts in my heart and wait for the day when I will be able to crawl up into his lap and laugh and cry and talk the way we used to. There are so many things I wish my dad would be here for...when I watch my friends walk down the aisle at their wedding with their dad at their side I miss him. When I the dads of my students walk their kids into school, I miss him. When I see a Duke t-shirt I miss him. Not a day goes by that I do not wish he was still here with us. The only hope I have in this is that he is living it up in heaven and just waiting for me to get there one day! I love you dad...and I hope you are proud of the woman I am becoming...

Last year on So you think you can dance, Mia Michaels, one of the choreographers, created this dance about her dad that had passed away. As I watched the movements of these dancers on the stage, I just wept. I long for the day when my dad and I can dance like this again...Until then...

On a roll...#4

Don't be shocked...I promised I would catch up to my blogging slackerness...only one more today and I will be all caught up!

Alrighty here we go...
#4 There will be times in life where you feel like it is the first day of your freshman year of high school and you are standing in the cafeteria with your tray and don't have a clue what to do...and it is ok, take risks and move on with will survive!

Do you remember that awkward moment, everyone was looking at you, you had no clue what to do and your feet would not matter how much you told them to do it. It was not the school cafeteria for me, but the Commons Area. For all my fellow Rockets out there, the Commons Area I am sure brings back many great memories. But I will never forget the first day of freshman year, it just happened to be my birthday and I was terrified. When I walked in the front doors, after being dropped off by my mom, I was not even cool enough to know an upperclassman who could drive me... I saw the Commons Area looming down the hall. This was the place to be hang make your mark in high school. I had heard about it, but had not a clue what to do when I got there. The commons area was a large room with benches lining the walls. One side for each class...of course the freshman got the short bench and often the floor and the seniors were living it up with padded benches galore. I made my way into the crowds, looking for any familiar face. Of course I saw no one and I just found myself standing in the middle of the chaos with a definite deer in the headlights look. I kept telling myself to move, to go sit down or at least just get out of there, but I was stuck. I was so worried of doing something wrong, sitting on the wrong bench, falling...that I was frozen. I had no idea what to do. Luckily a good friend came to my rescue and led me in right direction. I survived the commons area but always felt bad on that first day of school when that freshman stood in the middle and just froze...oh I remember that feeling.
I think we all have times like this in our lives. We are afraid to mess up the order of things, to look silly, to talk to the wrong group, take some one's seat, etc. I am still this way. But thankfully I am learning that taking the risk to look like that dorky freshman is ok and not nearly as traumatic as I remember it. So I guess I have learned that the Commons Area times of life will happen, and I will make it through them.

#3 on the list of things I have learned in my 30 years...

So when I started this series of blogs, I thought it would be a lot easier than I am finding it to be...I know I have learned a lot, grown a lot, and changed a lot in the last 30 years. But when you stop and try to put all those life lessons into words, it is kinda tough. So I appreciate you all bearing with me as I trudge through this process. What I love to, is that I feel I can be honest through these blogs and get my thoughts and feelings out and don't have to worry about differences of opinions etc. Because these are just my opinions...feel free to disagree! I am convinced that this is a healing process for me and a time to be able to reflect and reason through this crazy journey we call life. It is so nice to have people along side you on the thanks my friends for being fellow travelers...what an adventure.

Lesson #3: Quality (in most cases) is so much better than Quantity

Remember when you were little and your mom or some other caring adult would be passing out some yummy snack or treat...and you would count to see how much the friend next to you got to make sure you had more or at the very least the same number. I think as young people we are programmed that more is better. I know I have felt that it many areas of my life. In high school, as sad as it sounds, I think I found my worth in the number of friends I had. It was not until later on in my high school years, did I realize that the number was great, but the depth and quality of those relationships was so much better. Even today I have to fight this temptation to find my worth in the number of things or people I have in my life. Just think many friends do you have?!? Thankfully, I am learning more and more each day that when it comes to many things in my life the value of the relationship or quality of the super cute sweater actually means more than the number of friends I have on facebook or the insane amount of clothes I have in my closet. I am not sure that I am completely there yet, but I am hoping that in the upcoming years, I can really be the type of person who seeks quality interactions, friendships, relationships, shopping trips, just time in general. I guess the only thing in my life where this still does not apply would be paper products...I mean can you ever really have too many of those:)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

As promised...

Continuing with my theme of the Top 30 things I have learned in my 30's...Here is the second...
Accepting help from others is an ok thing to do. I tend to the be the girl that would rather do things for others and have a very difficult time accepting help from other people. As I get older, I am learning more and more that one of the reasons I think that God put us in relationship with one another is to be able to be there for those we love. And yes, asking for help does put you in a very vulnerable and sometimes uncomfortable position but the blessing is so worth it. I have often heard people say that when you don't let them help you, you are actually keeping them from a blessing. So, when you need those around you to be the things that you can't be for yourself...take the chance. I am finding that it is so worth it, you find that those you love are so willing to step up. Because I don't like to have people upset at me, I tend to think that asking for help is an inconvenience for people and that they will somehow hold it against me. This is such a tainted view of what true friendship see when you are in those places where you don't think there is anyone who can help, listen, is in those places that you find who your true friends are. So in my next 30 years I am going to work hard to not only be the giver but also the receiver...
(not sure if this makes sense...I am starts back tomorrow...I am 30!...enough said!)
Here comes #3....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Not being a blogging slacker...

And I promise that I am going to continue with the 30 things I have learned in my first 30 years, but I am going to have to update on Sunday! Friday was a super eventful much fun with my mom and then my ridiculous friends threw me a surprise party that night and I did not get a chance to update. Today I am headed to Sylva to hang out with the cool camp kids and won't have access to a computer, so I will update on Sunday when I return. So stay tuned friends for the second, third and fourth thing I have learned in my 30 years! Until Sunday...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Big 3-0

Well is official! I have joined the sacred 30 club! And so far it is not so bad! I just kinda can't believe it...30 seemed so old not too long ago, and now I can honestly say that I feel like it is going to be the beginning of an amazing journey! So to commemorate my turning 30 I have decided to blog for the next 30 days. I am going to share the Top 30 thing I learned in my first 30 years! Now if you know me well, you know that I might be doubling up on some days...but hopefully I can share some things I have learned during this crazy journey we call life! Some will be serious...some will be funny...some will probably just make sense to me! I think this is going to be a little therapeutic for me...a way to reflect on how much I have grown and changed over the last years! So here we go...

#1...Birthdays should be celebrated in a BIG WAY and should involved birthday cake and ice cream!!!! I love birthday cake. My friend Sarai and I often say we think it should be a food group all by itself! So even though this is not a major life lesson, it is a sweet one! Birthdays are more fun with cake! Ice cream cake, Sam's cake, homemade cake, birthday cake ice cream...all things birthday cake are good! Sometimes I will go to the store and by a birthday cake when it is not my special day and eat it! I mean I am sure it is some one's birthday that day! So if you have not had birthday cake in a while...enjoy some friends and invite me over...I love birthday cake!

PS...I did not have a picture of my birthday cake, so I am including a picture of Katrina' was a yummy ice cream cake! So good!!!!

Stay tuned...more to come!

July...Oh what a month!

As promised, here is my update on the crazy fun month of July. There is so much to share and I am sure that I will miss out on something but hopefully you will get a glimpse of how I spent my summer from this post. The month began in Hayesville, NC at the beautiful Truett Camp. I have been blessed to be a part of this ministry for several years now, thanks to some friends who thought I might make a good camp counselor. And I am hooked. I have not been there since I was in diapers like Sarai, Marty and Lori but in these few short summers I have gained some amazing friends, grown in my faith and had some amazing memories. I do love summer camp!

Here is our suddenly dramatic face...gotta love taking the directions in the choral music literally!

Hanging out with some of the crazy staff at the surprise staff party we put together! I miss these kids!

God has really blessed me with the chance to worship and spend the week at camp with some of my students from my school. Here is Rebecca...such a blessing!

Once camp ended, I hurried home to spend a few days in Hickory before I had to say goodbye to my dear friend Shannon. Shannon was engaged in May and her fiance, Jordan was transferred to that also meant Shannon was transferred to Mississippi. Shannon is such a kindred spirit and amazing friend! I miss her so much. But it was good to spend a little quality time together before she left. Here is the crew celebrating her!

After a teary goodbye breakfast with Shannon, it was time to get on the road again for me. This time, it was a Not New York Week with some of the bestest friends ever. A group of us had planned an amazingly cheap NYC trip for this summer. But plans fell through when our cheap airline, Skybus, went bankrupt, so what to do but plan another fun outing. Thanks to Lori and Beth, we had a blast. We headed to Hotlanta for a little girl time, cheesecake, and shopping! What fun! I even got to visit with my little cousin Billy Mac for a little while! One thing I think we are all learning as we get a little older is that one of the most precious gifts we have is the time we spend together! I know this trip really spoke that to me! And on our way, we found a Dwarf House...of course we had to stop and have our picture made!

Shopping and Cheesecake Factory are always a must when we find ourselves in Atlanta!

As July came to a close, Sarai and I loaded up once more and headed to Tennessee to visit with the Martins! Katrina gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Madison Elise, and we just had to go visit, love on and hang out with the Martins. Such a sweet time to be with this amazing family. I am so blown away by their strength and faith. So much had happened to them post-delivery and to most people they probably would have thrown in the towel after what they had experienced. But not my dear friends...they are such a testimony to the love, peace, strength and grace God gives us everyday! Words can't express how much this visit meant to me...
Meet the Martins ladies...Hope, Maddie and Katrina!

And here is Maddie with her mommy, Auntie Sarai and Auntie Brooke...what a joy!

Wow...just recapping the highlights of this month make me tired...but a good tired! I am so blessed to have all these amazing people in my life! Can't wait for next summer!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer '08...Oh what an adventure!

In my previous post, I tried to give you a quick overview of the craziness that has been this summer. I am officiallly home for more than 5 days so I am ready to fill you in on what has been an amazing and wonderful summer. There is much to share so this might have to be in multiple posts...come to think of it, you all might not want to know that much about my summer, but oh well here it goes!

School ending this year was a bittersweet time for me. Of course, I LOVE summer vacation...I think every educator needs that time to regroup, refocus and reflect before they can start up the new school year. But I was very sad to have this group of kids move on. I looped with this group of students and for those of you who are not familiar with this, it basically means that I was blessed to teach these students for 2 years. And yes I would consider myself blessed. I have never clicked with a group of students quite so well. They challenged me as an educator and as a person, they taught me countless things including how to do the Soulja Boy and blessed my heart beyond measure. Needless to say, the last day of school was full of all kinds of emotions. Here is a peek at this fabulous group of 5th graders!

Once school had ended and everything had been moved to my new classroom, I set off for 2 wonderfully relaxing weeks at the beach. The first week I spent some good time with the McSwains and Harwoods, two families who I happened to have taught their children over the past couple of years. We had a blast. It was so much fun interacting with the kids outside of the school environment. They are a great group of girls. And I absolutely loved getting to spend time with Heather, Kathy, Sharon and of course Grandma Brown. I love how God puts people in our lives that encourage us and uplift us. The trip was then followed by a great week at Surfside Beach with the McSwains and my mom and brother. Again, just a very low key and relaxing trip that provided so much rest and relaxation. I enjoyed long walks on the beach with mom and fun times at the pool and ocean with Zach and the girls. I highly reccomend two week trips to the beach...who is in for Summer '09?

Here are a few pics from our trip...

So there is a little taste of what June had to looking for a post on July which craziness, farewell party, not NY trip, Billy Mac and Tennessee visit! Get excited!!
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