Not Yo Momma's Women's Retreat

This weekend I was in Montreat with 70 women from Hope Community Church for our "Not Yo Momma's Women's Retreat." It's always a blast, with a lot of Hope-type shenanigans.

On Saturday, some of us went on an extended hiking trip... extended by the fact that we ALL failed to see the huge stone marker for the trail we intended to go on, so we went on a trail that led nowhere for quite a while before finding the one that actually went to the top of the mountain.

The North Carolina mountains are SO pretty! And it was about the most gorgeous day we could've asked for.

This is an annual competition at the NYMWR called the Bag Game. There is a paper grocery bag on the floor, and you have to stand on one foot, bend down and pick it up in your teeth, without falling or touching the ground. Then you rip off a piece of the bag, so it gets shorter & shorter. Last one to be able to pick it up in her teeth wins!

This year we had 2 bags - one for 5'6" and shorter and one for 5'7" and taller. That made it much more fair because we have lots of barely 5 foot women at our church that win every year. Our community group represented well, with the "tall" winner (Megan, above), the "tall" runner-up, the "short" 3rd place, and the "tall" 4th place (me!).

The fun and games had to continue, of course, so we had the brilliant idea to attempt a cheerleading pyramid... despite the fact that I don't think any one of us was ever actually a cheerleader.

Here's the triumphant pose, right before Christy fell and broke her wrist :(. She subsequently spent 5 hours in the emergency room in Asheville getting it X-rayed and set. We all felt SO bad, but Christy's a tough cookie, so she laughed it off and made the best of it.

Next up, the beach with a bunch of college friends this weekend! I can't wait!


Whitewater Falls

Wade and I got spontaneous last weekend and drove out to go hiking at Whitewater Falls, near Brevard, NC. It was a 2.5+ hour trip, but our guide book said this was possibly the prettiest waterfall in the East. I can't say for sure, but it was very pretty :).

Ever since I was little, I've loved rocks and water, especially together. They're just so powerful, so soothing, so beautiful, so constant.

There were actually people at the top of that waterfall, way across there. We got there too late in the day to explore how you actually get over there. But the signs were quite blunt with the warning that "a fall from the waterfall WILL result in death." Eek.

I love hiking with Wade. By the end of our hiking trip to Linville Falls the first week we were dating, I knew he was completely the one for me :). And it doesn't hurt that he tells me I'm beautiful even at the END of the hike when I'm dripping sweat and gross!

That's Lake Toxaway. Which is a terrible name for a lake. Who would want to swim in (or even visit) a lake called Toxaway?

God's creation is just amazing. Every time I look at it.

I wanted to jump over on that rock I'm heading towards, but it was just far enough and steep enough, with enough rushing water under it, that I decided not to risk it. But I love the challenge of "rock hopping" in places like this.

Thanks honey for an amazing day and all that TALKING in the car :).


Dogs at Play

Paisley made a good friend the other day...  my friend Julie's dog Berkeley :).  

Berkeley loves to swim, Paisley not so much.  She was nervously pacing the bank until I threw a tennis ball out in the water and she DOVE in after it without a moment's hesitation.  Then when she surfaced, she had this look on her face like "Oh crap, WHAT did I just do???"  She got the tennis ball and quickly swam to the shore and did not go in the water again!


Letter to mom

Dear mom,
I'm sitting in my living room watching the U.S. Open...  You've been gone for 2 months now.  I don't know whether I can't believe it's been that long, or I can't believe it's only been that long.  I just wanted to tell you how things have been the last 2 months.

The weekend after you died I stayed home from church for "Breakfast at Wimbledon," like we always did together.  Nadal actually beat Federer in a really long 5-setter.  I can picture how you would've cheered for the great shots and what you would've said as they kept pushing it out to another set and something like 9-7 in the 5th.

Wade's teaching is going really well too, mom.  I painted 2 walls of his classroom bright green - I wish you could see it - it makes it look so cute in there.  I've helped him enter his grades a few times, and I make him lunch every day.  I had so much fun that first week, putting together his turkey sandwiches in one side of the Tupperware, with carrots and a little cup of Ranch dressing in the other side.  The ladies at work make fun of me a little, but he appreciates it because it's one less thing he has to worry about after teaching, grading & lesson planning.

Mom, I wish you were here to commiserate with me about my condo flooding and the HOA being very slow to do anything about it.  It rained a lot the week you died and the week of your funeral - some people said God was crying with us - but because of that, the water came into my condo 5 times in those 2.5 weeks.  Then more recently we had a huge day/night of rain and it flooded all the way in to the hardwood floors & the closet under the stairs.  Now my A/C is broken too, so I'm kindof overwhelmed.  I wish I could come over to your house and flop on the end of the bed and tell you all about it.

Oh, but mom the flowers and plants we picked out are doing so great!  I've been out there so many times and wished you could see them.  You'd be so excited and proud of my first little gardening.

The encore azaleas have already started their fall blooming, and they're a gorgeous hot pink color.  There are a couple places where they look a little bug-eaten, though - I wish I could ask you if that's ok or if I should do anything about it.

The knockout roses are great too, and they just stand straight up and soak in that sun all day.  The Mexican heather are going crazy, growing so big - I don't know if you'd be surprised or not.  I did transplant that day lily to behind the rocks like we talked about, but I haven't taken that lantana out yet.  It did provide me with a couple wildflower-esque bouquets for my kitchen table (I stole a vase from your house because I figured dad would never need them all!).

I planted 2 hydrangeas in my back patio area - so far only 1 bloom though.  I don't know what the deal is with my garden phlox - it hasn't grown nearly as well as yours.

I finally put the screens back in my windows that you took out and cleaned for me when I first moved in!  Before too long we'll start to get some "dog weather" - when you would have loved to take the dogs and go camping, even if dad wasn't a fan :).  I'm going to be in Jill's wedding in December, and I bought my dress for it last night.

Can you believe that Hillary is 4 months pregnant?  We'll have a little Starrett before we know it.  You would have had so much fun shopping with us for all the cute baby clothes & everything.  You'd be really proud of dad and excited that he's going to church now pretty regularly.  I haven't called him as much as I should, but we talk about once a week.  I left Paisley in your garage one evening and she escaped by jumping out the window that's 3-4 feet off the ground!  That little rascal.  She'll be 2 years old in another month!

There are so many other little things I would tell you if you were here.  I sure do miss you.  I guess by the time you blink and turn around I'll be there with you, telling you about the 60 years I was married to Wade, and all our children and their children!  Just save me a place on the porch swing!

I love you!


Sarah Palin for VP

"In politics, there are some who use change to promote their careers...  And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."
~ Sarah Palin

Love that quote.  Love Sarah Palin.

Did anyone else who watched her speech at the RNC see the camera shots of her youngest daughter Piper licking her entire hand and smoothing the baby Trig's hair down across his head?  How funny was that?  And then she was up on the stage afterwards, waving at the crowd just as big as can be, as if she was the one running for VP.  Hilarious and adorable.

Count me in as one of those Republicans who wasn't the biggest fan of John McCain before, but combined with Sarah Palin, I am very excited about the upcoming election!