Reunion

27 02 2011

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to have a reunion with 2 friends from my college days at the University of Arkansas. We finally were able to pull together a date that we all agreed upon and converged upon the Pottery Barn Outlet in Memphis. We’re women…..shopping had to be a part of our girls weekend! So, Michele arrived from Arkansas, Heather from Mississippi and me, representing Tennessee. Sounds like a Miss America pageant! It was great to see them again and to be able to spend time just hanging out and having some fun. After we finished up shopping at Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma Outlet’s we headed to lunch for a quick break and learned all about Heather’s adventures at the Super Bowl in Dallas. She was 1 of the 400 people who did not have a seat! Michele and I were both in disbelief and it is definitely a story that Heather should put on paper or write in a blog!

That night we spent 3 hours at the Melting Pot in Germantown and had a wonderful time eating! It was agreed that the chocolate fondue was the best part of the meal. We had a great time just catching up with each other and reminiscing about memories from the dorm and the rest of our adventures at school! It had been almost 18 years exactly since we took our 1 and only spring break trip together to Disney World in Florida our Freshman year. Although this was a reunion, sadly one person from that spring break trip was not with us for this reunion. Shannon passed away 4 years ago and is sorely missed. It is especially sad because we are still so young and I do not think about losing friends at such a young age.

Shannon was a character and memories of her little, blue, 4-door car that she drove that first semester, which she hoped would get stolen so she could get a new car was eventually replaced with a new Jeep Cherokee, which took us to Florida! I also recall that we had a very small stove complete with an oven in the hallway of our dorm and when I learned that Shannon had never had a Chef Boyardee pizza I insisted that we have it for dinner that night. We set out for everything we needed and once the dough was spread out on the pan it ended up looking more like the amoeba pizza…very odd shaped! I cannot remember if she liked it or not but I think we all decided that Eureka Pizza was better because they made it and it was dirt cheap! Less work on our part so we’d have more time to play Pitch and make our TCBY runs to get yogurt. Those were the days!

Our get together had to come to an end Sunday. Heather was headed back home so she could make it to work, which she is a wonderful nurse who will become Dr. Heather as soon as she finishes up her Ph.D. program! So proud of her!

Michele’s husband and kids were having their own hangout weekend in Memphis so I joined Michele and her family for church at Grace Evangelical Church in Germantown. Dr. James Young III is the pastor there and what an amazing message that he delivered that morning! The church was celebrating 20 years in that building on Feb. 20th and the music was fabulous. Dr. Young delivered a message that definitely spoke to all of us. We all agreed that we were supposed to be there that day so it was definitely a God thing! Michele and John are great parents to their 2 children so it is so amazing for me to see them together as a family and to see them being strong Christian parents. So proud of them both!

It was a great weekend and it was sad to say goodbye to my friends but I am grateful that we have kept in touch over the years even though our lives have spread out in different directions. We hope to do this again every year and it will definitely be interesting to see where God has led us in each of our paths the next time that we meet.





What a difference a year makes.

20 12 2010

This time of year always prompts me to look back at what my life has been like since the last Thanksgiving and Christmas. I reflect on last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas memories. Some were not so good and brought great sadness to me but others were beautiful, sweet and wonderful and brought me much joy. Quite a combination and it certainly seemed to have a roller coaster ride effect to say the least. When I think about what my life would be like right now if I had received everything I desired this past year, I can pick out a lot of the things that I wouldn’t know or have experienced if I had gotten what I wanted. I cannot imagine my life without these things, now. No matter what I have missed out on or the disappointment I may have felt I can honestly say that I cannot imagine my life without the people, places and things that I now have because “life” turned out differently than I had expected this past year. It’s bittersweet you know. I had to give up some dreams in order to gain some new ones.

It is so easy to say “what a waste of time” when I reflect on things that have gone wrong but my friend Linda O. reminded me the other day that “no, it’s not a waste”. She’s right. Some very hard, valuable and good lessons have come out of the time I spent over the past year. Do I miss what I thought my life “would have been like”? Yes, I do. It doesn’t mean it was the right thing, though. Reality says it wasn’t right and I have God to thank for saying no to my desires and replacing them with His desires for my life. After all, His viewpoint is better and He can see much farther than I can to know how things turn out in the end.

Today, I reflect on my life and it is good. I am truly blessed and I cannot even understand why in so many cases. God is good! He may remove some things but what He replaces them with is even better. He watches out for me. God has plans for my life that require I be on the path that I am presently on and I want to enjoy that path and take in all that I can instead of running along in a hurry. For I know that those very dreams that were not given to me this past year are waiting somewhere in another year just down the path. They are out there waiting to greet me at the right time.

Merry Christmas!
Carolyn





Thanksgiving

25 11 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Today we set aside a day to give thanks for the blessings in our lives, be with family and friends and oh yeah…to eat a lot of good food! I stayed in Nashville to celebrate Thanksgiving here with 4 friends who were not with their families today and I hosted my first Thanksgiving celebration where I actually cooked a turkey. Once my frozen fingers finally pried out the yucky stuff from the cavity of the turkey I was in business! I actually had fun preparing the turkey and wondered why I had never attempted to do this before? It felt good to be thinking about the people who would be arriving at my home this afternoon to sit at my table, say a blessing together and have good food and a fun time together. All in all this day was good and I am glad that I now have today’s good memories to carry with me. An unexpected visit from a friend after dinner made the day even better.

When I open up my home I try to remember to pray for each person who will be stepping across the threshold and praying that they will feel comfortable and safe here no matter what is going on in their life. I like for people to kick off their shoes, prop up their feet, spread out, relax and feel like they can let their hair down and be who they really are. It has been very important to me that my home be a safe haven for those who are hurting and just need to talk and escape from the world for a bit. One of my guests called me this evening to thank me for including her in my festivities and she shared with me that she was hurting inside today and was so thankful to have a place to go and to be around other friends. Out of all of the compliments that I received today this by far was the greatest. I never know what God has up His sleeve in situations like this but I am grateful for all of the times people have let me in on the real reason that I truly opened up my home. Usually, it was not for the reason I intended but for the very reason God intended. People everywhere are hurting and in need of someone to say I care about you and what happens to you.

Today was a good day!

What are you thankful for?

May God bless you richly so you have many, many things to be thankful for!
Carolyn





Celebration of a Holiday

22 01 2010

Today’s blog is an assignment I wrote recently for my writing class.  We were to pick any holiday that was significant to us and write about it.  Below is a glimpse into one holiday that always makes me feel happy!  I hope you enjoy!

Celebration of a Holiday

 Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday, next to Christmas of course! As a child growing up, the fourth was the highlight of my summer. It was the climactic point of the school break because after it was over, the looming date of the first day of school grew closer until my days of running barefoot through the yard and creek were over. 

I remember getting so excited about purchasing fireworks and spreading them out on the floor to look at each box or container with delight and counting the number of each that I had to shoot! There were always the bottle rockets and string of firecrackers that could be shot off prior to the fourth and my brothers would even run to separate ends of the yard and shoot the bottle rockets off at each other. I had a somewhat safer plan of action! The handlebar of my bicycle had the plastic hand grips at the end and there was a hole on the end of the grip. I would lay my bicycle on its side and adjust the handlebar until one end was slightly sticking up. Then I would insert the bottle rocket in the hole with the fuse sticking out to the side so I could light it and then I would run like the wind to get out of the line of fire in case it decided to shoot out of the hole sideways! It is a wonder how all three of us kids made it through childhood without some part of the body dismembered from an exploding firework!

We would wait with great anticipation for darkness to descend upon the earth so the light show could begin! Turn after turn, we would watch with delight as each of us chose carefully the next beautiful display of fire, color and smoke! Our dog, Bear, would go crazy chasing after fireworks and the smoke so we learned after the first year to keep him enclosed on the screened-in porch so he would not end up swallowing a lit firecracker or run away with roman candles shooting out of the side of his mouth! 

The fireworks were not my favorite part of the holiday, though. My mother’s homemade vanilla ice cream was!  It was made using the ice cream maker that had to be hand cranked. My mouth would water just thinking about tasting that glorious ice cream and going back for seconds! As the youngest and only girl of three kids, I always received the honor of starting the cranking process first. That was because the harder the ice cream got inside the barrel the harder it was to crank the machine so I only had to work when it was easiest to crank it. As soon as it was finished, we would stand around with our bowl and spoon in hand begging mom to fill our dishes first!

Often my aunts, uncles and cousins would be in for a visit over summer break so I would get to see them. We always had so much fun running around and playing, eating ice cream and visiting with our family. That togetherness is why the fourth of July has remained with me as one of my favorite holidays. Today, I still carry on the tradition of making ice cream, except I cheat and use the electric ice cream maker!