Category Archives: roadtrip

cruising, wedding, and ringing in 2015

andy and I were booked for a cruise for may 2014.  we were so excited to be planning another vacation and then 2 unexpected things happened.  1. dad crushed his heel not long before we were to leave and 2. we got a wedding invitation to kendra and cliff’s wedding for right after Christmas – and they were getting married on a cruise.

we knew that we wouldn’t be able to go on two cruises in one year and we didn’t know if my dad was going to have surgery and I didn’t want to be that far away from home if he did.  so we called the cruise line and got our reservation changed.  one of the best decisions we made.  we got to go on a perfect vacation, see a wonderful marriage of two amazing people, and ring in the new year in style!

our boat was leaving from fort lauderdale, fl on sunday so we got up early Saturday morning (before the sun) and loaded up dad’s truck and away we went.

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we made it to fl and met up with my brother and blair for dinner.

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we made it to the port sunday after killing time shopping and driving around.  we went through security and after dad got his new knife taken away from him (he got it back when we got back) we boarded the boat.  there is something about walking through the walk way and to the boat.

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we loved our room.  it was a little bigger than the room we had on the last cruise.  we had a love seat in our room.  (I think my parents were jealous).  they were around the corner and down the hall from us in a room that only had a chair (because of a connecting door).  and like last time, we had a port hole in our room so we could watch the waves and the ocean.

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the wedding was different.  I had never been to a wedding on a cruise with the captain officiating.  we went to the chapel and had champagne while we waiting on the ceremony to start and once all the parties where there, we watched as two wonderful people exchanged vows and rings.

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(playing with editing a little bit)

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(back to the wedding)

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to the beautiful reception

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the first stop on the cruise was to the grand caymens.  we did our own self walking tour right around the port.  we didn’t stray too far but we did a little bit of shopping.  I love all of the towel animals.

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we made a point to try to go to all of the shows.  on our first cruise we didn’t get to many of them and we talked about wanting to make sure that we did on this cruise.

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kendra arranged for us to all sit in the same area at meal times.  we had a little trouble getting into the group since we transferred cruises, but we finally got it fixed to where we were sitting in the same area as the group.  we were at a small table with another couple from the wedding group.  allison and chris.  we had a good time with them (hopefully they did with us as well).

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we enjoyed after dinner festivities around the boat.

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the next port was jamaica.  we knew our room was close to where we got off the boat so I put my book in the window so that we could find our room.  we walked around inside the port area, but we also went outside the gate and walked around a little bit.

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after dinner we were invited to join the group in new year’s festivities.  they reserved the bridge for our group only.  it was so much fun to be with everyone (and to not be in the crowd below).  we definitely brought in the new year in style.

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the next stop was haiti

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that night we took our towel animal and dressed him up so our cabin attendant could see his elephant dressed up.

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they had the farewell show

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the wait staff did their farewell song/dance.  we loved our waiter, francis!  someone ordered “nothing” for dessert and this is what he brought out!

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when we got back to the room we noticed that the elephant had a few more decorations.

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some random photos around the boat.

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we went to an ice show – on the boat!  there was an ice rink!  it was a cute show and it was really done well.

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view from our room

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one of the shows had a violinist followed by a comedian.

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some group photos

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the marriage game!  hilarious!

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some photos of our room!  ignore the name behind the curtain!

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we had so much fun on vacation.  it was hard to narrow down the pictures to post the ones that i did.  looking back through all of them made me miss our trip.  but it brought up a lot of memories.  it was a wonderful wedding and festivities!  we were so lucky to be able to ring in the new year and start 2015 on a cruise.

we were sad to leave.

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we are planning another cruise for 2018 – I hope!

gcpc 2014 recap

it seems only fitting that on a sunday i do a recap of the youth group from 2014.

a look back at our youth group.  a lot of the middle school events aren’t captured because I am mostly with the high school youth.  it is always fun to look back and see how the youth have changed physically, but also to remember the events and see how they have changed on the inside as well.

we went to resurrection in january.  it was cold.

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youth sunday happened.  cleo our 2014 senior gave the message.

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lawn part to kick off the school year

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church picnic at locust springs.  there were two donkeys that wondered in to say hello.

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we had a high school lock in on Halloween night…it snowed.  the next morning i woke up at 5 and took a picture.  luckily it didn’t stick around long.

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we went to montreat in july.  i love montreat (it is a thin place – we have been told).  i am sure the kids hate my camera…but i enjoy it and so they put up with it.  i know that in a lot of the pictures they kids aren’t smiling…apparently it is a game that we play.  they act like they are miserable and i allow it (they do have to smile for a few photos).  they really are having fun – i promise.  bob retired.  we miss bob!

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took a group of kids to charlotte to carowinds.  andy got sick (didn’t puke – but pretty sure he wanted to).  i road boo blaster and shot some monsters.  it was a short but fun trip.

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high school progressive dinner.  i enjoy taking group photos, but just start taking the pictures and keep taking them and see how long they will put up with it.  sometimes i act like i am taking pictures but am really doing a video.  they are always such good sports.

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middle school bon fire at the farm.  it was huge.  it was a hot fire.

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we went and helped at gifts for kids (and played a little too).

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just a taste of 2014.

chasing the moon

sept 2014 we went to the beach for a long weekend.  it was nice to get away.

we played the tag game (we killed it – but i don’t know where the finished one is for photo proof).  we made a detour and went through columbia, sc so that we could eat qdoba.  it was amazing and worth the side trip!

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we stayed where we stayed when i was in high school and a group of us (me, andy, erik, Katie, ron) went over spring break.  it was a fun reminder of the past.

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as the sun went down we chased the moon all the way to the beach.  it was huge!  i spent much longer than i would like to admit trying to get pictures of it.

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not too bad for taking pictures while driving down the road.  when we got to our hotel the moon was beautiful over the ocean.

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we went to bed with a full moon and woke up to a beautiful morning and coffee!

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we got to see a wedding while we were there.  andy made me leave before the second one started!

we went to some of our favorite places to eat while we were there.

burro loco.

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drunken jacks.  where we sat and watched goat island until our table was ready.

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we tried out the pirates voyage.  it was very cute.  we loved looking at the animals before the show and the pre show.

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we went shopping, we saw fish and andy wanted a unicorn head.  we also went and played putt putt.

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it was a wonderful end to the crazy summer.

north carolina Christmas 2014

some photos from Christmas in charlotte (2014).

ellen cheesing for the camera

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cj (i don’t know what is up with the snowflake headband)

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andy reading three donkeys and a donkey to cj.

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presents and cake!

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group photo (didn’t know which one I liked better)!

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always great to see family.

our 2014 seniors

since we work with youth we have a lot of kids (spanning all of the churches we have attended).  we get to spend time with them in their best and sometimes worst moments/years/days.  we get to be there for the hard questions about faith and life.  we get to see them laugh at themselves and at each other during stupid youth group games.  we might send them home at the end of the day (or week), but they are our kids.  we are proud of them when they accomplish something they feel is great/huge and we are proud of them when something small happens and they don’t even know that they should feel proud.  we try to be there for them when they need us and a lot of times they are there for us when we didn’t even know that we needed them.

one of the things that stresses me out the most about working with youth is what if i am wasting their time?  what if what i am telling them isn’t deep enough to make them claim their faith as their own?  what if our discussions are only on the surface and what the youth needs is to go more in-depth?  what if on the weeks we have serious conversation, the youth really needed to play stupid games to get their mind out of a dark place?  what if what we are trying to do and say never sinks in?

it is at graduation time that i look at our kids growing up and see that they are moving on.  they have not only graduated from school, but from youth as well.  i can only hope that they have gotten something from our time together because the time i had with them (held captive on sunday/wednesday evenings) is gone.  there may be a short conversation in person or through social media, there might be a phone conversation, but the dynamic has changed forever.

as we watch them go across the stage at graduation or talk with them afterwards i look for glimpses that they got something from our time together.  that even if they got nothing else from youth that they at least understand that we are proud of them, that we will always be here at a moments notice and that we love them so very much as if they were our own.

a little late – but congrats class of 2014.

cleo was our senior class for gcpc

(with her brother (wyatt) and bff (emma) at church for graduation cleo sunday)

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i love going to graduation here.  it is a little more fun and laid back.  they actually talk about God (at our graduation that was a no-no).  they get to go crazy at the end throwing their caps and having silly sting (at ours they threatened to hold us through summer school).  it is great to watch the kids having fun and celebrating their graduation.

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we were also lucky enough to be able to attend morgan’s graduation (a former youth that moved to VA right up from where we live now).  luckily we didn’t have anything else going on that day of her graduation so we were able to attend.  while she was walking across the stage she did a selfie with the administrative staff on the stage – it was funny.  not only did we get to see morgan we got to see travis (another former youth who happens to date morgan).

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unfortunately jackson (another former youth) graduated on a thursday that we already had stuff going on.  so we missed him walking across the stage and the big graduation party, but we made a point to stop in and see him and celebrate a little late with him.

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we couldn’t be any more proud of our kids and of all of their accomplishments.  we are so glad that we get to be a part of their lives and to celebrate these milestones with them.

girls asheville trip 2014

i have been blessed to work where i do.  it isn’t always fun and games and it isn’t always easy and stress free, but i love it.  we laugh a lot.  we have fun.  even in the stressful events and days we find a way to support each other and get through it together.  again this past year i was invited to girls day in asheville – a day of shopping and wonderful food (much appreciation to Nat for the Christmas meal) and friendship and gingerbread houses at the grove park inn.

the winner of the gingerbread house was this chess set.  it was amazing with the details…but it wasn’t a house…

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beautiful view before dinner

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not everyone could be there this year and we had two that had to leave early but part of my wonderful work family.

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next year we might rent a u haul to get all of the stuff back – but i think we did great cramming it all in the car.