Friday, February 25, 2011

New Places and New Faces

Our trip to Nashville last weekend was full of fun. John, the girls, and I made the most of every minute. One of the highlights of the trip was staying in the grand Gaylord Opryland Resort. It is hard to believe that last year it was under several feet of water. The resort was renovated and reopened at the end of 2010. This was our first visit so I don't know how looked before, but I have to say that now it is gorgeous.

There was an indoor conservatory garden with many beautiful pathways winding through it.

Although ours didn't, some of the rooms had balconies that opened up to the enclosed gardens.

It is amazing that these plants are so lush and healthy.

My favorite part of the gardens was the waterfalls and hearing the continual sounds of rushing water.

The gazabo was the scene of a lovely wedding. I wonder where the bride and groom honeymooned?

Even the ceiling in the hotel had guitars on it! Or are they fiddles?? I can't tell.

One of the best parts of this trip was getting to meet Tina from In The Garden. She and her family are some of the nicest people I have ever met. When she found out from my blog that we were visiting Tennessee, she left me a comment about the possiblity of meeting in person. I emailed her right away to set it up. She was so sweet and invited us to her home. Since it was over an hour away and our time was limited, we decided instead to meet at our hotel. She and her family drove over an hour to meet us. How nice is that?

I was so happy to meet her. Our families hit it off right away. Everyone had a blast. Before we knew it a couple of hours had past. It seemed like just minutes. I know this is the start of a good friendship.

Tina even came bearing gifts from her garden! How cool is that? Now, part of my North Carolina garden will have a little piece of Tina's Tennessee garden. I can't think of any better gift than that...except the gift of friendship. Thanks, Tina, for taking the time to come and visit with us on our trip! You and your family blessed our day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend in Nashville

We had a great time in Nashville this past weekend! Our trip was pretty much centered around Carson's love for country music and her dream to be a singer someday. I thought that I might just give a few highlights today and post a little more detail each day about the places we visited and the people that we met.

We splurged a little on this trip and stayed in the Gaylord Opryland Resort. What fun! I'll have to do a whole post on the resort to share some more pictures of the conservatory gardens in the hotel.

One of the highlights of my weekend was meeting Tina from In A Garden. She and her family drove over an hour to come to the hotel to meet us. She even brought me some plants for my garden. How sweet is that!! She is the first of my blogging friends that I have had the chance to meet in person. I'll certainly have to blog about that later in the week.

One of Catie and Carson's highlights was meeting Neil from The Band Perry in the hotel lobby. He was really sweet to stop and have a picture made with them.

Of course Carson had to see The Bluebird Cafe. It was not at all what we expected. She wants to sing there the next time she is in Nashville.

This is the Ryman...the first home to the Grand Ole Opry.

We enjoyed a show and backstage tour of the current Grand Ole Opry. Carson enjoyed standing on the hallowed circle where all of the great country music stars have stood. Could this be a future star here?

We have never seen so many big guitars!

We all loved Nashville! It is such a lively city with so much to do. Two days were not enough to see all that we would have liked. I think a longer trip will be in our future.

The weekend was warm in Nashville and at home. This morning I was greeted by a few surprises in my own little corner of the world.

No matter how far I roam, there's no place like home! Hope your weekend was filled with joy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting Better!

Carson has been sick with the flu for several days now and I have not taken the time to post. She is getting better by the day and has even mentioned being bored today! That is usually a sign that she is on the mend...thankfully, just in time for our weekend trip to Nashville. This little country music loving girl has been wanting to go check it out for some time and we finally planned our trip. I was afraid that we may have to cancel. (not a good thing since we had already purchased some tickets to the Grand Ole Opry) Hopefully, if the good Lord is willing, we will make it to Music City! I'll be sure to blog about it when I am home!

If any of my blogging friends have any music connections in Nashville let me know. She would love to talk to someone who could give her some advice on the music business!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Table Scape

I thought I would link up with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch today with a Valentine's table scape. I set this table last year for my book club that meets once a month to discuss the books that we are currently reading. I was lucky enough to get to host the club in February. February is always poetry favorite. It is also a great month to decorate for the meeting.

This is the table in my sunroom. I love hosting book club in this spot since it is the one with the best view of the water.

The china is actually my wedding pattern from Noritake. I love using it for Valentine's because of the soft pink flowers.

The flowers were purchased at our local Walmart and arranged in a McCoy vase that I purchased at an auction for just a few dollars many years ago. During the summer months I always use flowers that are in my yard for arrangements. Since I didn't have anything blooming at the time, I had to buy them instead.

I just put a square of florist foam soaked in water in the vase and added the flowers. It helps to start with the flowers in the middle and then work to the sides. I fill in with the greenery and fillers last.

I always view the arrangement from all sides to make sure there are no gaps in between the flowers where the foam shows through.

Taking pictures of the arrangement is a good way to spot any mistakes.

This particular arrangement lasted for well over a week. I was very pleased to get to enjoy them for that long.

When it is my turn to host the book club, I always try to use what I have on hand. I only purchase what I absolutely have to. It doesn't take a lot of money to make a beautiful setting...just a little time!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winning and Losing (Repost)

Today I took a trip down memory lane to last February's posts. I do that now and again to see where I have been and remind myself of God's blessings in my life. I happened upon this post from last year. It was written the day after the Super Bowl. Even though I have had a somewhat rocky year with some health issues, I still believe that these words are just as true today as they were a year ago. I decided that they were definitely worth sharing again (especially since many of you are recent followers). I hope you don't mind a repeat. You will certainly notice that my girls have grown a lot since then. You will also see only one picture since I did not know how to load more than one at a time! Imagine that!

Last night we had some family and friends over to watch the Super Bowl. I am not a huge football fan, but I do watch the games with John sometimes. I am a fan of the Colts, especially Payton Manning, so of course I was not thrilled with the outcome. However, I managed to be happy for the Saints because of the history of the team. It started me to thinking about winning and losing.

One of my dad's favorite sayings is, 'You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out.' I thought about how true that saying really is. It makes me think about times in my life when I have been on the winning side and times that I have been on the losing side. I am thankful that God allows me to experience both ends of the spectrum. It seems that He so perfectly balances each and every event in my life.

The year 2008 was probably one of the lowest times of my life. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer in March of that year. She underwent treatment for six months until she passed away early that September. That summer was the hardest summer in the life of my family. That was our last summer with her. John spent much of his time caring for his mom and that really left him exhausted and emotionally spent. Catie and Carson were affected by the fact that they were losing their Nana, as well as missing time with their dad. We all felt overwhelmed that entire year, but God carried us through it.

The year 2009, however, was one of the best years in my life. In April of that year, Catie and I took a trip with her school to Greece and Italy. The time spent with her and the memories of that trip will be cherished forever. In September, almost to the day that we lost John's mom, God gave us another huge blessing. Carson, our youngest daughter, had a dream to meet her favorite entertainer, Taylor Swift. A local radio station was having a contest to win a pink jeep with Taylor's picture on it, a chance to meet her, and two front row tickets. Carson listened to the station every day and called in every chance they gave. John finally got through and won a chance for the jeep. The day of the concert, ninety-six people had a chance to win. John actually won it! Our family spent the rest of the day in a whirlwind. We were taken to meet Taylor, shown around back stage by her mom, and the girls were able to see the concert from the front row! Talk about an experience of a lifetime! For an eleven year old girl, that was a dream come true.

All of these events took place in a year's time. Our special night at the concert was exactly a year after our lowest point. I believe that God is always there in each and every circumstance that life sends our way. It doesn't matter if we are on the winning side or the losing side, God is always on our side. I am thankful that He works for my good in every situation. My prayer for my girls is that they will always look for His presence in everything and give thanks to Him.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hang In There!

I know many of my blogging friends are buried in snow at the moment. Here in North Carolina we have managed to escape the big storm. Last night we had some rain and today it is windy, however, temperatures are in the lower sixties...not bad for the second day of February. I thought I would venture out and look for some signs of spring to share with those of you that may need some warmth today. I didn't find much happening in my yard at the moment. It seems that the signs of spring are running a little late this year; however, I did manage to get a few glimpses of what is to come.


For instance, my winter daphne appears to be getting ready to bring forth its sweet smelling blooms...

...and my daffodils are just starting to poke through the barren ground.

So, for those of you who are anxious for spring to appear...

...hang in there, spring is on the way! :)