Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I can't say I'm "ready for a fresh start"...what I can say is that 2011 has been a heck of a year, with ups and downs like any year. Huge things have happened this year. My faith has deepened and I've found myself a little more through that. I can't believe how fast the years are flying by. Here's to believing that 2012 will be wonderful and full of happiness :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas: Week THREE

So I'm REALLY behind on blogging...things got crazy in Christmas chaos.  I wrote a lot of this earlier, but now I'm adding things as I remember them.  I remember watching Christmas movies at night but I don't remember which nights haha. So here is what I remember from week three. The highlights :)

Sunday, December 11
-Church in the morning
-Lunch with Zach & his family
-Ice skating in downtown Greensboro with Katie and Ashley!! It was so much fun.  I definitely wanna go again.  Once we got the hang of it, we got going a little faster...but me and Katie couldn't quite master the art of skating backwards like Ashley did haha
-Christmas program at church with Alex and Ashley.  Loved the music.  It was beautiful.
-Then we went shopping at Belk's...taking advantage of their extended Christmas hours!
-Went home and attempted to work on homework... haha

Monday, December 12
-Worked in the costume shop for a few hours.
-Had Kepley's for supper with Zach!! Mmmmmm

Tuesday, December 13
-Exam in the morning...presentations to be exact. STRESSS!!
-Hobby Lobby with Blair and Brooke
-Went to see Flash at her house in Wallburg - recovering from her surgery.  Got 2 hot dogs at Sheetz in Wallburg (I think it's kind of a big deal that they have a Sheetz now).  The hot dogs were DELICIOUS and I enjoyed the nice country drive and listening to Christmas music.
-Went home and my mom had brought pizza I ate some more and then felt sick.
-Ashley's first band concert at the middle school!!!!!!!!!! She has first seat in the flute section.  It was so sweet.  I loved going back and seeing SW Middle school and fondly remembering my days there haha

 Some of us at the band concert

Wednesday, December 14
-Last day of my ed. technology class / presentations
-Worked in the costume shop by myself and listened to Christmas music :)
-Lunch on campus / last minute cramming for my American Humor exam with Zach
-After my exam, I went straight to Sweet Shoppe Bakery and got a box full of Christmas treats to celebrate the end of finals week. Sweet Shoppe is less than a minute from High Point University, and right across the street from the school (Wesleyan Academy) I attended for elementary and part of middle school. My mom would take me and my brother to Sweet Shoppe at least once a week when she picked us up from Wesleyan.  (It's kind of weird to attend a college that basically shares a campus with your elementary school, right??) ANYWAY, Sweet Shoppe is a very memorable and happy place for me, and since I love constants, I love Sweet Shoppe.  Not to mention the fact that their treats are the most delicious things I've ever tasted.
-Church that night

my box of Christmas treats!!!

Thursday, December 15
-I'm drawing a blank...I'll remember later

Friday, December 16
-Got to spend another day with little Sophie! We went to meet up with the class my mom was subbing in - first graders. They were on a field trip and had lunch at McDonald's so we went there.
-Zach's grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary! It was so sweet. It was at their church.
-Went to see Chanelle...she came home for Christmas!

 passed out after a day of fun
at the anniversary party :)

Saturday, December 17
-Went shopping with Alex, Chanelle, and Ashley. It was good to have a girls' night and catch up! Later we went to Steak n Shake :)



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Bows

Okay, so by now, it's probably pretty obvious that I'm OBSESSED with Christmas... I'm obsessed with anything that has to do with Christmas.  Accessories, clothes, colors, patterns, etc.  Ever since I was little, I've loved Christmas BOWS.  My mom used to make me wear them on my dresses, on my shoes, socks, ears, head, wherever! Haha.  This year, I found some really cute ones I'd like to share.

 The ones above are from Claire's.  They were $5 and I thought they were SUPER cute.  The only problem with them is that the bobby pins they come on are really tiny (probably for little girls with fine hair) and of course won't slide easily into my thick hair haha. So I just switch them onto my own bobby pins.  Aren't they adorable though??

This is the bow I put on my car.  The picture is kinda blurry, but it's the best one I have right now.  It's a candy cane bow! I got it at the drug store.  I like it because it's different from the usual red bow I put on the front of my car every year.

 This is the first bow I've ever made! My friend Heather showed me how to make them the other day, and I'm addicted now.  I love the green and brown for Christmas.

These are two of the newest additions to my hair bow collection.  The one on the top is a gift from Brooke.  She made it for me! I looove the little lollipop in the middle.  The one under it is one me and Alex saw at Belk's and HAD to have...40% off so we got them haha.  Now we match! I've been wearing mine like every day.

This stuff is from Hobby Lobby.  The tiny bows are 99 cents a pack, and four come in a pack.  You really can't beat that.  And you can do anything with them! I put a few on bobby pins and wore them in my hair, and I used safety pins to fasten some to my various fleece jackets to add some holiday spirit! They also have polka dotted ones.  I love the ribbon beside them, and used that to decorate my car keys, my dog's collar, and various other things.  Adding red and green bows to everything adds a little touch of Christmas everywhere! Sometimes I do tend to go a little crazy haha.

What about y'all? Do y'all have cute Christmas bows / ideas of how to use them??


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tis the Season: Christmas, Week Two

Continuing my Christmas highlights...

Amidst loads of schoolwork, I managed to do fun Christmas things during week two.

Sunday, December 4th
-Church in the morning
-Auditions for the spring dance concert at school
-Went shopping at Belk's for a little while by myself (did I mention I love shopping alone?)
-Got my sister and we went shopping at Target. I got a red fleece jacket for $10 (later had it monogrammed)
-Did homework with Alex

Monday, December 5
-I worked that night.  Met Zach at the tree lot after work to get the tiny Christmas tree for my room.  Picked out the smallest, most adorable one.  We drank hot chocolate and rode around and looked at lights for a little while :)
-Went back to my house and decorated my little tree.


Tuesday, December 6
-Worked in the costume shop in the morning to get theatre hours. I love the costume shop.
-Had "Christmas Dinner" in the caf with Ashley B.
-Libraried it up with Ashley

Wednesday, December 7
-Lessons & Carols at school
-HPU/Wake Forest game with Blair and Zach
-Zach and I went to see Granny
-My family and I went to see my mom's friend (Flash) in the hospital after her surgery. Long story short, she is now cancer free!! :)

Thursday, December 8
-GRE!!!! So fun! (not)
                                              ...well kinda.
-Lunch with my mom, brother, and Zach.
-That night, I decorated my trash can...


Friday, December 9
-Spent the day with Zach's tiny cousin Sophie. Took her to the mall for lunch and to see Santa! SHE'S SO CUTE.

 Sophie in my sunglasses :)

-Carriage ride at school - horse and buggy style. So neat!
-Worked the rest of the day
-Painted my nails very festively (picture will be in another blog coming soon!!)
-Worked on homework. fun Friday night!! haha

Saturday, December 10
-Ran errands/shopped by myself after work
-Went to my grandma's empty house and just sat and thought (I'm not weird, I promise!!!! Honestly, I love going over there and looking at everything.  Even though she's gone, I feel close to her around all of her stuff.  And especially here at Christmas time, I think that's good for me.  I love old stuff and looking through pictures and thinking about all the things that happened in my family before I was born.  I love looking through my grandma's jewelry.  I guess it's all mine now, but I'd feel weird taking it all...idk.)
-Met my parents and sister for dinner at Kepley's (one of the BEST restaurants in High Point. Been here since the 40s.  My mom worked there when she was like 16.)
-We went to get our family Christmas tree. A little late, but whatever.
-Alex, Ashley, and I rode around and looked at lights, and then ate at Carolina's Diner (another great food place).

*This day was cool because I almost felt like I was in a time warp the whole day, if that makes any sense? Maybe I'm weird, but I'd LOVE to live in the 50s, 60s, or early 70s, and hearing oldies at work all day, hanging out at my grandma's house, then eating at Kepley's and Carolina's Diner...I kinda felt like I was close to that time period.  Can anyone else relate to me on that??? I feel like that's weird hahah

So that was week two, and week three is coming soon!!

What fun activities are you all doing as Christmas draws near?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CHRISTMAS: Week One Highlights

"Enjoy the little things in life...for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."

I just saw that quote on one of my friend's Facebooks, and it really drove home the reason why I started to write this blog in the first place.  I decided that all through the Christmas season, I'm going to document the fun things I do - big and small - because time is such a valuable thing, and the years fly by.  I just want to appreciate every single moment!

Since Christmas officially starts right after Thanksgiving, I'll start with highlights from the week of November 27.

I had my wisdom teeth out the day after Thanksgiving, so I wasn't able to do much til that Sunday.

Sunday, November 27
-Went to J&S with my mom, brother, and sister.  J&S is one of my favorite restaurants!
-Did homework at Barnes & Noble with Alex, and my sister tagged along.  We sat in the children's section.  Barnes & Noble is lovely at Christmas time.  And it always smells so delicious, so that was definitely a win.
-Watched TV with Zach.  He's so fun.

Monday, November 28
-Worked out after my 8:00 class.  Really appreciated the time to be able to do that, since I won't have that time next semester when I student teach.
-Watched Kathie Lee and Hoda with Zach
-Went for a walk with Honeygirl and Zach.  The weather was beautiful.
-Took a nap
-Went to class (yes, this is a highlight because I honestly LOVE all of the classes I've had this semester.)
-Went to HOBBY LOBBY and got Christmas ribbon!!!!!! And got a Christmas bow at Kerr Drug to put on my car.
-Went home and put the ribbons and bows on my car, on Honeygirl, and on my jackets and anything else I saw that needed a bow.
-Took it easy. Blogged. Enjoyed having free time to myself. Got to enjoy some good conversation with Chanelle.

Tuesday, November 29
-Met Brooke and we went shopping at Target.  Thought about how much I love Target at Christmas. Almost accidentally stole a bag of Halls cough drops.
-Brooke and I ate at J&S, and I got to eat something other than mashed potatoes and Jell-O. We enjoyed just sitting and talking.
-It was a nice cloudy day.  I like cloudy days. 
-Went to check on my grandma's house.  Saw that her neighbors' door was open, so I decided to go in and visit.  I stayed a lot longer than I had intended, but when I left, I was so glad I went.  I knew I had a lot of other stuff to do, but deciding at the spur of the moment to go over there and visit was such a blessing.  Talking to people that were close friends with my grandparents for decades was cool.
-Driving home, High Point looked so festive and Christmasy.  I was in a spectacularly great mood.
-Ate dinner at home.
-Went and picked Ashley up from dance.
-Ashley, Zach, and I went to the mall and I got a great deal on some Christmas products at Bath & Body Works.  Oak Hollow Mall is tiny and sort of empty, but it's still so sweet-looking, especially at Christmas.

Wednesday, November 30
-Zach and I had breakfast at Tom's Place.  It was so fun and nice.  I got to eat more real food!
-After class, Ashley and I went to see Granny before church.  She had her Christmas tree up, and it looked so cute.  She was watching Andy Griffith.
-Loved going to church.
-Went to College Life, a Christian club at school that I just started attending.  The people there are so nice, and some of my friends from class go.  The theme was "Tacky Christmas" so everyone was all decked out.
-After that I received a wonderful blessing from one of the custodians at school.
-Did homework in the library for a looong time with Ashley B.  Hadn't seen her in a while!

Thursday, December 1
-Enjoyed sleeping in. 
-Enjoyed SCRAMBLING to do homework and study, mad at myself for sleeping in.
-Watched Kathie Lee & Hoda. <3
-Had lunch with Mattie and Flash, and what a blessing.  Not only did I FINALLY get a hot dog, but I enjoyed some wonderful conversation and love as well. 
-Came up with lots of Christmas activity ideas (that won't get to happen til all this school stuff is done)

Friday, December 2
-Worked pretty much all day.  Came home and freaked out about homework.

Saturday, December 3
-Worked most of the day.  I actually really enjoy working on Saturdays.
-Went to the Christmas pageant at Green Street Baptist with Granny, my sister, and Zach.  Honestly, I really miss Green Street at Christmas time because that's where I grew up and decided to get saved, and spent so much time every single Christmas of my childhood.  I was in the Christmas pageant a few times and the children's choirs, etc.  So going back for that was something that was really cool for me.
-Afterward, we went to IHOP. Mmmmm.
-Went back to Granny's house and decorated her tree.  A tradition we usually keep every year. 

So that's week one of my Christmas!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

The First Noel

When I was doing my top Christmas song blog the other day, I completely forgot about one of the very best Christmas songs - The First Noel!!

Clay Aiken and Josh Turner both do gorgeous versions of "The First Noel."  They give it a unique feel.

That's all. I just wanted to spotlight another beautiful Christmas song :)


Friday, December 2, 2011

Top 25 Christmas Songs!!! (because I couldn't pick just 10 or 15)

Okay, so now that it is officially December (YAY!), I decided that I am going to try to blog every day about a different Christmas-related topic, memory, activity, etc.

I decided to kick off the month with a list of my top 25 Christmas songs! It was hard to pick just 25, but I think I have it pretty well narrowed down.  And since there are 25, there's a song for each day until Christmas :) So here we go!!!!

25. Santa Claus is Back in Town - Elvis Presley. Enough said.

24. Holly Jolly Christmas - Nothing beats Burl Ives' version. Pure classic.

23. Joy to the World - always been one of my favorites, don't care who sings it.

22.  Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys.  Such a fun song! When I taught dance, my little girls did a dance to it, and I do that dance in my head every time I hear it now.

21.  There's a New Kid in Town - George Strait / Keith Whitley.  A sweet, sweet, touching song with some country twang.

20.  Home for the Holidays - Perry Como / The Carpenters. Gives you that warm feeling.

19.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - NSYNC.  Me and my friends have this one on lock. 

18.  Let it Snow - Jessica Simpson does the best version, hands down.  So sassy!

17.  Deck the Halls - SheDaisy's version really brings it to life!

16.  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - I like Rascal Flatts' rendition.

15.  Christmas in Dixie - Alabama.  My favorite part is when they mention Graceland, of course ;)

14.  Children's Christmas Song - Diana Ross & The Supremes.  So cute and catchy!

13.  This Christmas - Ruben Studdard.  That cool R&B feel.

12.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - I have to say, Sammy Kershaw has the most awesome version.

11.  All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey. DUH. Used to be my ringtone.

10.  Someday at Christmas - Stevie Wonder. World peace, is that too hard to ask for? I've been in love with this song since 8th grade.

9.  Do You Hear What I Hear - I looove Whitney Houston's rendition.

8.  If I Get Home on Christmas Day - Elvis Presley. Showcases his voice perfectly. Obsessed.

7.  Don't Save it All for Christmas Day - Clay Aiken / Celine Dion.  A beautiful song with a great message.

6.  Mary Did You Know - I have always looooved this song.  I think Jessica Simpson and Clay Aiken have the coolest versions.

5.  Carol of the Bells - Jessica Simpson KILLS it.

4.  Hark the Herald Angels Sing - I'm sorry, Jessica wins this one too.  Her version is so soulful and Gospel-sounding!

3.  Silent Night - The Temptations win the award for this one.

2.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - My absolute favorite Christmas songs are the solemn, serious, deep, old, hauntingly beautiful, traditional Christmas hymns that pierce the soul and glorify God.  Because that's what Christmas music is really supposed to do.  Not trying to be corny, but that's what this song does hahah.  And the best version, I think, is Jessica Simpson's.  Go figure. 

1.  What Child is This - See description for #2.

0.  Blue Christmas - Okay, so I said 25.  I CAN'T JUST PICK 25!! Elvis's "Blue Christmas" is a classic.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It kinda does make me sad now, though, since this is the first year that I can really feel like the lyrics apply to my life.  I miss my grandma :(

But enough of that; it's an awesome song!!!

And guess what? I have one more.

My all-time favorite Christmas song is...

O Come All Ye Faithful - I just love, love, love this song. I feel like Elvis's version is the most reverent and majestic version.  It. Is. Amazing. (There is a version of it that has both Elvis and Olivia Newton-John in it, and it's pretty sweet too!!)

So there you have it, my top 27 favorite Christmas songs.  Of course, I could've added like 27 more, but yeah...

I'll leave you with my all-time favorite:
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Christmas fun :)


Monday, November 28, 2011

Blah Blah Blah: Ramblings of a Nostalgic College Senior

So I think senioritis has a hold of me in a few different ways.  The main way it is affecting me is making me really emotional.  I honestly didn't think this would happen to me.  I mean, I was really sad to graduate high school when most everyone else was happy and excited.  Then I got to college and didn't like it that much at first.  I was really frustrated because I couldn't decide where to go, and when I finally did, I changed my mind and decided to transfer to HPU.  Well, I regretted that soon after because the whole reason I transferred was because I wanted to live AWAY from home...but after transferring once, it didn't work out to transfer again without losing too many credits, among other reasons. 

So I was sour about being stuck in High Point while most of my friends from high school went off to college in different cities and states.  They were out on their own, having fun, and I was stuck living with my parents.  Looking back, it seemed a lot worse at the time than it really was.  But I made the biggest fuss about it, and complained all the time.  I always thought, "I can't wait to just graduate, and maybe then I can go to grad school where I really wanna go." You can imagine how I felt when I found out I'd graduate a year late.  "An extra year of misery." I thought.  It did cross my mind, however, that once I finally made it to the end, I'd regret the way I acted and be sad.  In fact, I knew it would happen. That's just how I am.  Knowing that, though, couldn't help me shake my attitude.  I just couldn't.

Well, now that my senior year is here (finally), things are different...Im starting to really enjoy HPU and connect with some cool people and get more involved.  Wouldn't you know that I would be the one to sulk my way through college, grumbling and complaining half the time, and then decide that I actually love it in my fifth year??

Also, in the past few months, I've decided that I really do enjoy living at home.  I don't know if this is one of those things that has happened because I realize I'm so close to a life change, or if I really did enjoy it all along and I just wouldn't let myself believe it.

Everyone always made a big deal of me going to college so close by and living at home.  "You can't get the full effect of college unless you live on campus" they said.  (Or at least away from home, because most state schools won't even let you live on campus after your freshman year.)  I wish I hadn't let others' opinions get to me so much, but I know that at the time, I really did crave a more colleg-y experience, and so my complaints were legit.  I knew God was keeping me here for a reason, though.  Maybe it was to spend so much time with my grandmother during her last few years.  Maybe there's a reason that I still don't see.  In any case, I can't regret it. 

Looking back (again), I didn't just now start having a good time, though.  During the fall of 2009, I started doing my own campus radio show, and that was fun.  But I still wasn't getting very involved with others.  Spring semester of 2010 is when I really started having a good time.  I had a radio show with two cool people, Shannon and Nick.  They are both from High Point too, so I didn't feel lame around them haha. 

Since then, I really haven't hated HPU at all.  Have I been ungrateful? Yes.  Could I have gotten more involved? Definitely.  Do I regret not getting very involved until this year? YES! But I can't dwell on past mistakes.  Everything I did seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  Besides, I think at this point, no matter what I did my first three or four years, I still wouldn't be ready to graduate and I would still want more time at HPU. 

This semester started off a little shaky.  After my grandma passed away, I felt really depressed and didn't wanna do anything.  Luckily, that only lasted a couple weeks.  Then I realized that she's so much better off now, and I started to do more to get involved on campus in an effort to "move on" (for lack of better phrase).

I'm down to like a week and a half left of this semester.  Next semester I'm student teaching, which means this is like my last week and a half of regular undergrad semester I will simulate my "big girl job." 


So, this is my last week and a half to:
-have hours of freedom during the day
-work out after my 8:00 class (and by that I mean watch Full House on the elliptical in Slane)
-eat lunch with friends
-go shopping with friends during the day
-take Honeygirl for morning walks
-take naps
-hang out with my mom during the day (don't call me lame!!)
-watch Kathie Lee and Hoda
-run errands in between classes

This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but as a college student, these are things that I've gotten used to being able to do! It's gonna be a big adjustment to go from this kind of freedom to teaching high schoolers from 8-3 every day...and I'm terrified!

Honestly, this whole thing has really gotten me down over the past month.  It really has.  I'm not big on change, and I was voted "Most Likely to Stay a Kid" in my high school class, so naturally, I don't wanna grow up (thanks guys). 

I feel pretty nostalgic knowing that I can't be lazy and live off my parents for too much longer.  It's sad! It's all I've ever known! I love it! You can call me lame for that.  And pathetic.  Whatever.  It's just the way it is for me.

Next year (fingers crossed), I'll be going to grad school at Appalachian State.  I'll have to live on my own, and I know that once I do, it won't seem like such a big deal anymore.  That's how it always is with stuff like this.  I get allllll worked up, anticipating and being apprehensive about a big change, and then once the change happens, it's no big deal. 

Sometimes it takes me  f o r e v e r  to get adjusted to one thing/chapter in life, and when I finally do, I'm so comfortable that I don't wanna leave.  Then, I move onto the next thing and wonder why I got so worked up. 

So I shouldn't get all worked up!!!!

I'm just a super emotional, nostalgic, sentimental, memory-lovin' person I guess.  I'm surely not the only one.

BUT, knowing that I have a limited amount of time to do certain things has caused me to make the most of every single day and live it all up.  I try to thoroughly enjoy every day.  I make plans with friends, my mom, to-do lists, etc.  It's satisfying to me. 

I just don't wanna have any more regrets.

If you've read this far, I commend you.  I'm not trying to entertain, per say.  I just need to let these things out!!

Do any other college seniors feel this way? I feel like I'm a special case haha...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

My Thanksgiving actually turned out really well, after fearing that it wouldn't. 

I love watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  There's nothing else like it.

I love having lunch at Granny's house.  There were a lot of people there this year, including my cousin's new little baby, Ellie.  She is so freakin cute and I love holding her!!

 my brother and Ellie. AWW

After lunch, Zach and I went shooting at his house.  I shot a handgun for the first time! haha

At dinner time, my dad, brother, Zach, sister, and I went to the homeless shelter to help feed people.  It was truly an amazing experience.  There wasn't that much for us to do, since there were so many volunteers, but I plan on going back and helping serve dinner at least once every other week.

After that, we went to my mom's friend's house (her family is like family to us).  She had made deer meat and we also had barbecue.  Mmmm. Good food, good friends.

After coming back home to rest, Zach, Ashley and I headed out for Black Friday!

We went to Walmart at about 11. TOO CROWDED.

We stopped at McDonald's (only place open haha) and got food.  We took it to my Grandma's house and ate it at her dining room table, just like I had wanted to.  (If you don't know, this is our first Thanksgiving without my Grandma, and we used to always have holiday dinners at her house, at the dining room table.)  I wasn't so sad, since people were with me.

We went to Macy's and met my brother and Katie there.  My friend Brooke and her husband Justin and cousin Jonathan were also there.  Basically all we did there was try on hats and take pictures while everyone else was on a misson hahah.

I went back home and got into my pajamas and headed back out - to Belk's with Zach.  This is the one place I REALLY wanted to go for Black Friday.  And it was insane.  I love all the hype though.  It's so exciting! I like to just go and watch all the people scurrying around.  We did get some good deals though, and had a lot of fun.  Our first Black Friday shopping adventure together!

After going back home and sleeping a couple hours, I went to the oral surgeon and had my wisdom teeth taken out.  After my surgery, my mom and Zach were there to help me to the car while I threw up blood all over my new white jacket :( Why did I wear it to my appointment anyway??

Ever since then, I've been sleeping, eating jell-o and mashed potatoes, indulging in Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, editing pictures, painting my nails, finally reading the first few chapters out of my Kathie Lee Gifford book, and talking to my friends.  And I've been letting my mom take care of me, like I'm a little kid again.  It's really nice.  She's so sweet.

It's nice to be really lazy and not do much of anything for a couple days.  But at the same time, I am being productive - I'm getting stuff done that I want to get done, like writing and reading and editing pictures.

So that was my weekend so far; hope everyone has had a great Thanksgiving weekend!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Up at 6am on Thanksgiving so I Might as Well Blog

Very early on Thanksgiving morning.  Not gonna lie, I'm excited to go back to sleep after I write this, watch the parade on TV, have lunch at Granny's (we've always gone there for lunch on holidays) and see my little baby cousin, and whatever else we do.  There's a new little person in our family that wasn't here last year.  And she's adorable and I'm excited to see her.  But there's also someone missing.  Someone very important.  This is the first Thanksgiving without Grandma.  The first major holiday without her at that.  This is a day I've dreaded for years, being the worrywart that I am.  I knew at some point, she wouldn't be with us anymore and a holiday would come when we couldn't go to her house at supper time and eat all of her delicious food that I love so much and will never truly experience again.  I think it was a lot harder to anticipate this day when she was still alive than it is now, although I am getting a little emotional.  I've been so strong these past two months...I guess today will be the test. 

This isn't actually the first Thanksgiving that we haven't had supper at Grandma's house, though.  Last year we spent Thanksgiving in the hospital with Grandma because that's when she started having all of her health problems.  So in a way, this week is an ugly reminder of the beginning of her health declining.  Then we didn't have Christmas at her house because she had just been moved to the rehabilitation center so we went there.  Looking back, I'm really glad that I didn't know that Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2009 would be the last that we would spend traditionally eating dinner at Grandma's house.  I think it's easier that way.  It's easier to deal with today knowing that we didn't have Thanksgiving at Grandma's house last year.  I guess it was God's way of easing me into the change...because He knows that's what would be best for me.  But that doesn't mean this will be easy.  It's still hard to know how much Grandma wanted to have Thanksgiving at her house last year, and how she had planned on it and didn't wanna be in the hospital.  She even had her cornucopia napkins laid out on her dining room table, ready to be used for last year, and we never got to use them.  Sounds silly and corny for me to bring that up, but little things like that really get me.  I'd give anything to be able to have Thanksgiving with Grandma tonight.

My dad and I had decided that after Grandma passed away, we would help serve at the homeless shelter on Thanksgiving, so I think we're gonna try to do that.  We also have great friends to spend the evening with after that, so I know it's still gonna be fun.  Just never the same.  I actually did think about getting some Bojangles and taking it to my Grandma's empty house (and whoever wants to go with me haha) and eating dinner at her table, like we always did.  Just to indulge in my own emotions and some self-pity for a little while.  I know it would bring out some emotions, and that may be what I need right now.  I don't always have to pretend that I have it all together.  Granted, most days I do have it together.  I know Grandma is having the best Thanksgiving ever right now, and there's no need for us to be sad or mourn or eat at her house.  That's what my dad said.  But I'm just the kind of die-hard traditional person that would do something like that, so we'll see haha. 

But for right now, I'm going to make a list of what I'm thankful for instead of being sad.

-of course, Jesus, and God's unfailing love and grace
-my amazing parents and their constant support and love and wisdom
-my brother and sister and laughing and having good times with them. built-in best friends.
-my sweet Granny and being able to spend lots of time with her
-a fun and Godly boyfriend
-the most wonderful and fun friends
-the cutest beagle in the world
-being able to go to a great school
-good health
-FOOD (my stomach is growling, ughh!)
-good music
-being able to attend an awesome church
-America: a free and beautiful nation. proud to call it home.

And especially today, I am choosing to put aside the sadness and be THANKFUL for the 23 years I got to spend with Grandma, and all those Thanksgivings with her wonderful food.  I am thankful for the constant Godly influence she had on my life and her love and support for all of us.  I've been blessed more than I can express by her and all she has done for me.  The memories we shared will be with me for the rest of my life.  God blessed me so much with her. 

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.  There's so much to be thankful for.  And of course, I'll post later about what I actually did today!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Funday

So today was a great day.

I had breakfast at McDonald's with Zachary.

I felt Christmas in the air.

Well, not temperature-wise...

It was like 70some degrees, and it. Was. Amazing.

I got to relax, watch TV with Honeygirl and the door open to let the fresh air in.

I found out I got an A on my American Humor paper. 

And my teacher left a really nice comment on my paper.  It was very encouraging.

I took a nice nap.

I had fun in my education technology class.  Cool people.  Cool teacher.

(That's not to say I won't fail it. Fingers crossed.)

I laughed with my brother at work.

I found a pearl in my oyster at work.

Got an email that said "Joe Don Rooney has requested to follow you on Twitter."

He's one of the Rascal Flatts...yeah.

Oh, and Thanksgiving break...that starts tomorrow!

And I had a  f a n t a s t i c  hair day.

Not bad for a Monday :)

Lots to be thankful for! God is soooooo good.

What are you thankful for?

Song of the day: "Promised Land" by Elvis.  The perfect mix of country and rock & roll (we like to refer to it as "Rockabilly" or "Southern Rock").  Love it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Little Things: Scents of the Season

Yesterday my sister and I went to the mall and while we were there we stopped in Bath & Body works because I needed some hand soap for my bathroom.  I LOVE when they start putting all the Christmas stuff out!!!!!! We had a coupon for a free item with a $15 purchase, and the soaps were on sale, so I got four soaps (in holiday scents - Winter Candy Apple, Vanilla Bean Noel, Pink Sugarplum, and Gingerbread), a lotion for Ashley (Pink Sugarplum because that's her new favorite. So cute) for $15, and my free item was a bottle of my favorite - Winter Candy Apple. This was great because I'm running out of lotion, and I love Winter Candy Apple.  It's nothing big at all...B&BW does sales like that all the time.  But it just made me super happy yesterday...and today because I used it this morning and I've been smelling it the whole day.  It's just a tiny thing that goes a long way in getting me in the Christmas spirit!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic

So yesterday I bought these brown "riding" boots that I've wanted for a while from Target.  I was really excited to finally get them, and I had a gift card, so I didn't feel like I was really spending money...til I was walking out of Target.  See, I need to really start saving my money because next semester I'm student teaching, so I won't get to work nearly as much, if at all.  I'm pretty much counting on trying to sell my artwork and kinda live off of that money, at least for frivolous things.  My parents will give me money for gas and food, but I just feel weird letting them pay for my stuff after working and paying for all of my gas, food, and clothes since college started.

So I had the boots, and while I was driving home from Target, I thought of all the other things I could've gotten with my gift card that could've benefitted someone other than myself.  The truth is, boots are the VERY LAST thing I need.  To be totally honest, I have an entire linen closet full of shoes on every shelf, and I have so many boots it's not even funny.  But I justified this purchase by saying "well almost all of my boots are cowboy boots, so I need some riding boots because those are different."  Cowboy boots.  They are not cheap.  And I have over five "real" pairs.  I'm not sharing this information to brag.  I'm opening myself up to admit a problem on my part.  It almost makes me sick to think of how much money I've spent on shoes/boots/purses/clothes/etc. And how many children in High Point go to bed hungry almost every night.  It's a problem!!! WHY am I living in excess with over 150 pairs of shoes while there are children who don't have shoes that even fit? Why do I buy purses "because they're just so pretty!!!"???

I can tell you why.

It's a little sin called GLUTTONY.  One of the seven deadly sins.  It is SINFUL to have so many shoes!!

All my life I've said, "I'm a good kid.  I don't do what he/she does.  I'm living right!" OK, that's good! I've never been tempted to do the stuff that a lot of adolescents fall into doing.  I've had friends ask me, "why is it so easy for you to do the right thing? Aren't you ever tempted to do what we do?" And all I can say is no.  "Well then what is your downfall? Do you have one? Doesn't everyone struggle with something...some sort of addiction?"

Finally I realized, after a little denial, that I battle materialism daily.  It's so hard not to!! We see advertisements every day saying "You need this!" or "This will make you cooler" or "This will make you more attractive" or "These are so IN this season!" We also want to keep up with celebrities and girls in movies and on TV.  And I feel like being a female in college, it's 100x harder (especially where I go to school haha).  Girls always have the latest handbags, clothes, whatever.  It's like a constant race or competition.  We don't necessarily mean it to be that way, but it happens! It happens everywhere to girls our age.  We want to fit in and have the latest.  And keep up. 

Now, since I was in maybe middle school, I've sort of made my own style, while incorporating the latest trends.  I've never been one to say, "I don't like this, but since it's 'in,' I'm gonna wear it." No...I've actually worn some things that went totally against the norm because I've never been one to try to totally conform to any type of style.  And I always say I am NOT going to carry a handbag that costs enough to feed a third world country (or a few hungry families in High Point).  But sometimes the trends do get the best of me.  I'm just as guilty as anyone else.  I say I won't carry an expensive handbag, then turn around and buy boots that could be hocked to have money to buy groceries for a needy family.  And I justify it by saying "well they're REAL boots, so I can wear them for years and years and they won't wear out" or "No one else has these, so I'll be trend-setting." Okay, that's fine, but EXCESS is NOT!

Constant "competition" among girls as far as style and material things leads to something even worse: ENVY.  Envy is the green-eyed monster that stems from materialism and trying to keep up.  Someone is always going to have more than you.  I'm not a rich person by any means, and no matter how much money you have, it seems like someone always has more.  The battle to "keep up" is never won.  I can't let myself get caught up in that stuff.  Envy is a very very dangerous emotion that leads to even bigger problems.  And just think, all of this stems from wanting more possessions.

I go shopping a lot.  It releases chemicals in our brains that make us feel good (don't quote me on that).  That's why they call it retail therapy! It really can make you feel better.  But how long does that feeling last before you want something else? It's just like any other addiction.  I'm so guilty of it, it's not even funny.  Even though I know the only TRUE and LASTING key to happiness is JESUS, I go shopping to make myself feel better sometimes.  Okay, a lot of the time.  Even if I don't buy much...and even though 90% of the time, I only buy something if it's on's still a problem.  Especially if I constantly feel like I need to justify it.  It can make me feel good and bad at the same time, like a drug.

Okay so let me sum it all up.  Don't think I'm crazy and I'm saying that shopping is JUST like doing drugs.  There is NOTHING wrong with having cute clothes and nice accessories.  I've strengthened a lot of friendships while shopping because it's a fun activity for girls to do together.  (Safer that way, because I usually don't buy as much when I'm with friends)  All I'm saying is that I recognize that it can get out of hand, and lead to materialism and envy, and I need to be wiser about it.  Excess is not good.  The preacher always says, "Anything that takes up more of your time and more of your thoughts than God is an idol."  If you're constantly dwelling on the next item you're going to buy, it's taking the place of God.  Materialism is IDOLATRY.  I'm guilty of it! I need to start saving my money and stop being so selfish with it.  How many kids could I feed in my city if I used my shopping money to buy them food?? Christmas is coming up...there are kids in High Point who don't get gifts at Christmas.  Should I really complain that I don't have a certain type of jeans or that I drive the car I drive?  Should I ask for more when they don't even have the minimum? More importantly, I should never let anything get in the way and take up time that I should be spending with God.  I need to find a way to put some of my time and money to better use.

Just something to think about.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My 23rd Birthday

Well today (I'm still considering it to be Sunday because I haven't gone to bed yet) was my 23rd birthday, and it was amazing! It was cool because I was actually born on a Sunday too.  I got to go to church this morning, then out to lunch with my family and Zach.  Daddy asked me where I wanted to go eat and I said "Cracker Barrel or J&S" haha. I decided on Cracker Barrel, and it was so good.  While we were there, we found a bumble bee costume for Honeygirl to wear for Halloween! It was actually a little girls' costume, but it ended up fitting her!

After lunch, we came home to have cake and open my presents.  My cake from my parents was so cute! And the gifts they gave me were great. My sister had picked out some really adorable stuff for me, and even bought some if it with her own money! She got me this bracelet that I've really been wanting.  And she wrote something really sweet in my card, and that's what really matters.  Gifts are great, but to really know that you're loved and that there's someone who looks up to you and that you'll have forever as a best's the greatest.  Everyone was just wonderful today.  I really feel loved and cared about, and I have a wonderful family and amazing friends.  I got lots of thoughtful texts and facebook posts and phone calls.  For it to be my first birthday without Grandma, it was still good.  I feel so blessed by God.

My costume party was at Zach's house again this year, and it was so fun! Ashley and I dressed as Pippa and Kate Middleton and Zach wore a crown to be Prince William haha.  Alex got me a sweet cake and Zach's mom had a bunch of food.  The royal theme was carried out with crown napkins and plates (and my mother had gotten me "princess" balloons earlier).  We had a hayride and a fire.  I loved getting to spend my birthday with such fantastic people!! And hayrides are the best I think I'll always celebrate my birthday like a little kid.  No shame in that!! :)

Oh, and me and Zach carved this cool pumpkin Saturday night.  Reppin' Port Southern!!

And my song of the day is "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley because nine years ago, on my 14th birthday, I received my very first Elvis cd.  I had heard "Burning Love" on the radio a couple months earlier and on the Lilo and Stitch trailer, so my mom bought me the cd because I wanted that one song, but I didn't even know the name of it.  I just figured that an album called "Elvis Number Ones" would have that song on there.  I sat in my room that night and went through all 31 tracks on the cd until I found my song - number 29.  It's been my absolute favorite song ever since :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

There's Still Hope for the Music Business

The Saturday before last, my friend Ashley and I went to Raleigh for 'American Idol' winner Scotty McCreery's "homecoming birthday bash/album release." There were SO many people there! It was mind-blowing that so many people would show up to see someone who is so humble about his fame.  In fact, Scotty is back in high school in his small hometown of Garner.  But seeing Scotty glorify God and give Him the credit for all of his success was awesome.  And as we drove, we had listened to Ashley's Scotty album, and in most of his songs he mentions his faith.  I just think that with all of the corruption in society today, and especially in the music and entertainment industry, seeing someone like Scotty (and Lauren Alaina, Carrie Underwood, etc) is so refreshing, and it gives me hope for America.  It's hard to find a mainstream artist who will stick up for his or her faith in God and profess so openly Christianity.  What do you think?

This is probably my favorite song on the album, for many reasons.  I've been raised to believe that the King James version of the Bible is the closest to the way God wanted us to read it, and whether that's true or not, I am partial to the King James version because my grandma always used that version, and when she passed away a few weeks ago, her King James Bible was handed down to me.  So I guess that's why this song has a special meaning in my heart. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's a Beautiful Morning

I love Fridays.  I love having 8 a.m. English class most semesters on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  This is because that's usually my only class on Fridays, which means I can get a lot done and enjoy my Friday until it's time to go to work. 

Up until the past few days, I had been really depressed about summer ending and fall coming.  Although fall had been my favorite season since I was a little kid, the past few summers have been so amazing that I've fallen more and more in love with summer and everything about it.  So when September came this year, I got pretty sad.  September is always a fairly dull and uneventful month anyway, and it's there for that awkward transition from summer to fall.  This September was the worst I've known, probably.  But usually the day that October comes, everything turns right back around.  This year has been no exception. 

This morning I left class around 9.  It was such a gorgeous morning.  I was instantly reminded of how much and why I've always loved fall.  Everything about this morning was perfect.  I read my Bible and did my devotional and then headed to Barnes & Noble to look around.  I decided that I would spend a couple hours by myself, just doing some random things that I usually don't have time to do.  It may sound weird, but I really enjoy doing certain things by myself.  It gives me time to think and fully take in my surroundings.  So at Barnes & Noble, I leafed through some interesting books (I've always especially enjoyed biographies of classic Hollywood actresses, so I found some of those).  I looked over the clearance section and found a really cool book by Kathie Lee Gifford (love her!) and it was only $5 so I bought it.

I had to go to my grandma's house to check on it since it's empty now, and I thought of the countless Fridays I had driven there after class to pick her up to go shopping or to go eat or to the Farmer's Market.  Fridays were our days.  It was just so peculiar and sad to be at her house on a Friday morning all alone.  The beauty of the sun's rays and her lush green yard provided an extremely ironic contrast to the heaviness  and confusion I felt.  I sat in the driveway for a few minutes and journaled a bit.  I think it's really important to write down thoughts and emotions while they're fresh, so that's what I'm trying to do more recently.  I think it really helps.  Never underestimate the power of good ol' pen and paper. 

Sitting there in the driveway, seeing her car in the carport, I half expected her to come to the door like she always did.  I thought to myself, "I'd give anything to be able to hang out with her today."  I saw her roses growing in the yard.  She loved roses the most, and maybe they were there for me to see that her work will live on on this Earth, and represent the eternal life that she's been experiencing for the past two weeks.

I left there before I got into a really sad mood, and headed to Hobby Lobby to get some ribbon.  My friend Ale couldn't be more right when she refers to Hobby Lobby as the "crackhouse" haha.  I love crafting so much, and I've always been a sucker for all things seasonal.  Hobby Lobby is so overwhelming to me.  I enjoy making my own jewelry and other things because I think that makes it a whole lot more meaningful, and it's also really cool to learn how to make things and have fun in the process.  So I bought some pink and orange and blue ribbon, and I wanted to look around some more, but I knew I'd be there for too long if I did!

I went to Kohl's as well, and being the bargain hunter that I am, I found some adorable starfish earrings that had been pretty expensive but were now pretty cheap, and a couple other pieces that were on major clearance, and with my $10 gift card, I got three things that would've otherwise added up to like $60.  How exciting!

I went home and took Honeygirl for a walk.  The weather was just too perfect not to.  I also finished the anchor earrings that I've been working on (pictures will be up later).  All this, plus eating lunch and going to take care of Zach's dogs (since he and his family are at Disney World) before I had to be at work at 3.  And after I got off tonight, I went back to hang out with the dogs some more.  So adorable.
So obviously I had a great morning.  Friday mornings are great anyway, but a Friday morning in October is simply magical.  I'm excited for fall now, and I'm so thankful that the littlest things in life can be so enjoyable!

Song of the day...perfect!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Highlights of My Week

OCTOBER is in full swing.  While October is an extremely overwhelming month, it is also one of the absolute most exciting and fabulous months, and one of my favorite.  And not just because my birthday is the 30th (hint hint).  So here we are, done with the first week of this crazy month.  This week has really flown by! I've been pretty busy...Monday night, my sister, Zach, and I went to the Dixie Classic Fair.  The fair is a must every year, and most people that I know go.  It's just a tradition.  It makes everyone feel like a kid again (which isn't hard for me haha).  I was worried that it was raining on the way there, but shortly after we arrived, it stopped, to our relief.  We had a great time :)

Also on Monday, I went to the dentist and found out that I'll have to have my wisdom teeth out over Christmas break :/ Oh well, can't say I didn't see that one coming! haha my mouth hurts so bad :( They took a bunch of x-rays, and that really irritated my gums where the wisdom teeth are underneath.

I got some really good deals this week! I don't usually buy something if it's not on sale, and when I went to Target this week to buy stuff for two of my favorite little girls, I was excited to see all of the cute stuff they had for really cheap.  Some of the stuff I even got for a dollar, like these really adorable 2-pack gift bag sets.  That's always a day brightener haha.
On Tuesday, I got to eat lunch with Brooke.  We went to Panera, and I love love love Panera.  Spending time with Brooke is always good because we just have so much to talk about, and the best way for me to feel better about any situation is talking things out.  I went to dinner with Angie, one of my coworkers who has become a good friend, and her sweet daughter Kokie, for her tenth birthday.  I just love birthdays. It was nice to have dinner with them, and enjoy meaningful and encouraging conversation.

Also this week, I got to spend some time with my three month old cousin, Ellie! My granny was keeping her, and I had bought her a little outfit, so we put it on her and took some pictures.  Babies are so much fun!! It's so sweet to interact with such a young person, who has a whole, full life ahead and doesn't even know it! Life just blows my mind sometimes. 

Yesterday (Wednesday), I found out some of my grades aren't so hot right now.  The past few weeks have been really rough, and I'm sure that's why.  I just haven't been motivated to do school work at all.  But boy, seeing that midterm grade was enough to motivate me! I went to my grandma's empty house, where I knew there would be no distractions, sat in the sunny living room on her old antique couch, and opened my Mark Twain "Tales, Speeches, Essays, and Sketches" book.  The assigned story was interesting, and I got really into it.  And as sad as it was to sit in my grandma's house alone, I let my mind drift to the happy times we've all had there, and that provided a bit of comfort.  I don't know how to describe it, but it's both painful and comforting at the same time. 

Wednesday night, our youth group's small groups split up and went to different places to hang out and get to know each other.  My group went to Cookout and Putt-Putt.  I was once again reminded of how the simple things in life can be so satisfying.  Nothin' like a grilled chicken sandwich, some greasy onion rings, ranch dressing, fruit punch, and a good round of mini golf!!  Later, Zach and I drove to the airport to watch a plane land.  That's one of our favorite things to do.  It's the most awesome thing to watch! It seemed like the plane was going to land on me.  I guess I really am a little kid.  After all, my high school class did vote me "Most Likely to Stay a Kid" senior year. Geeze haha

Today was good.  $1 subs at Jimmy John's was definitely a win.  Zach and I went to look at costumes at Party City.  I don't necessarily celebrate Halloween, but I do love dressing up, and it's a good excuse to.  I've always loved dressing up and taking on a temporary persona.  It's intriguing. 

So there's some highlights from my week.  If you've read this far, thank you! My life may not be the most interesting, but hopefully some part of my blog helps, or at least entertains, someone hahah.

And my song of the day...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday Adventure

Today (Sunday), my friend Katie and I headed to Mt. Airy to watch a Civil War reenactment.  The drive to Mt. Airy is so beautiful.  I love the beach the most, but you just can't beat the mountains in the fall.  It was nice and cool, but not cold, so that was good.  It's gonna take me a while to get used to cooler weather, though. 

Anyway, we made it to Mt. Airy, but couldn't find the reenactment, and the lady at the visitor's center was super rude to us about it, so we just decided to go shopping.  After calling my dad and getting directions, we drove to the Virginia state line (second Sunday in a row we've gone to VA haha) because it turns out the reenactment is actually a few miles out of Mt. Airy, right on the VA border.  Well, we still couldn't find it, so we just went to this cute restaurant called the Mayflower and had some delicious seafood (as if I don't eat enough of that already). 

Our day didn't go completely as planned, but it was still nice.  It was good to get away from HP for a few hours.  A nice Sunday getaway.  I really love the old-time feel of Mt. Airy and how quaint and adorable it is.  Oh! And I FINALLY learned how to parallel was kind of a "I have to learn how to do this right now because cars are coming and we're gonna get hit if I don't" situation, and Katie taught me how REAL FAST.  It was like an epiphany hahah.  You learn something new every day. 

I thought about my grandma a lot while we were up there.  She loved the mountains and small towns and fall, and when we drove into Virginia, I thought about last Sunday and how we had come there to lay her earthly body to rest.  I took a picture of Pilot Mountain, and if she was still here, I'd show it to her, but I know that even the beauty that surrounded me today could never surpass the beauty that she is surrounded by in Heaven right now.

And here's my song of the day:
I've been reallllly into my Elvis country cd lately...perfect for fall driving :)