Saturday, August 30, 2014

Super Hard Quiz: What Movie Was Filmed Here?

Can anyone guess what movie was filmed in this location?  

Here are a couple of views...

and a hint.  

Here are two more hints...

and one more view.  

 Can anyone guess without looking at google or asking a teenager?   

First correct answer will win adoring praises and the first gazillion dollars I earn. 


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Best Part of Vacation….

….besides not cooking, getting plenty of sleep, and enjoying the glorious beauty of Western North Carolina…

was just being together as a family! 

With Glen working long hours lately, it simply was just nice to be together without a busy schedule each day. 

We walked,

we talked, we laughed,

we played, we fished, we explored….

 and ate ice cream together almost every day.   

The only thing we were missing was Spencer... 

who was already back to school.   
While we relaxed and had fun on vacation, he was gearing up for Organic Chemistry and other such brain frying academics at JMU! 

And whatever you do, please don't remind me that this time next year we will be dropping off Cami for her freshman year at wherever university.  

It makes me feel sad and old just thinking about it!    


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Open Letter to Health Evangelizers Everywhere

Yes, I'm talking to you.  

The one who loves to post links on your facebook page about how some food or medicine cures or causes  cancer.  Or the "friend" who hadn't said boo to me in 20 years and felt the need to write me an impersonal note--not even taking the time to learn Spencer's name-- about what quack remedy I should use to cure his leukemia. Or the friend of my sister’s who in all seriousness told her to stop using antibiotics for a serious infection and rub oils on her feet instead.    Or the regular comments, which I delete immediately, I get on any blogpost that mentions Ellie's epilepsy that tells me about which snake oil will cure her from all her seizures.   

Can you please stop before you post next time and try to look at this from the other side of the coin first?    

I hate to rain on anyone’s  happy parade, but despite people's best efforts bad things can still happen and your constant ravings about how healthy/happy/perfect you and your kids are because of all the good things you're doing for them are hurtful to those of us who have kids who are not as fortunate as yours.     

I love my kids just as much as you love yours  and have always done what I thought was best for them.  I breastfed each of my kids for 12-18 months, avoided giving them unnecessary medications, made their food from scratch, avoided artificial dyes and flavorings, and took them to the park instead of letting them play video games.  And yet I still had a kid who was unfortunate enough to have cancer.  Another one has uncontrolled seizures.  

Did we cause their health ailments because I didn't see your barrage of well-meaning trendy health information soon enough?    

NO!   And your constant insinuations (even indirectly) that I coulda, woulda, shoulda done something different is counterproductive and hurtful.  Do you think I don’t beat myself up enough wondering if we  did something wrong to cause their ailments?

You have absolutely no idea what it feels like to be told that your son had a 25% chance of surviving the next five years with the best medication the world has to offer and yet you have the gall to tell me that chemo is unnecessary and that if we simply cut meat and dairy out of our diets that he would be healed.   Feel free to go that route when someone from your family is on death's door, but please don't put that judgmental crap out there as fact and expect people to jump up and down with joy at the "good news" that if only they were as good a parent as you they could have been spared the pain of watching their child suffer.

And don't even get me started on essential oils! I actually have some and think they're great for minor complaints, but there are far too many zealots, most of whom also happen to sell them, who shove the religion of essential oils down the throats of anyone who crosses their way--especially people like me who have families with visible health issues. They proclaim miracles at every turn and then try to peddle me their overpriced wares. Natural or not, they did absolutely nothing for Ellie's seizures and my sister has a friend who is blind in one eye and undergoing a corneal transplant soon, because she ignored her doctor who prescribed something for a minor eye infection and opted to use essential oils instead.  

I am not so naive as to not realize that the medical profession in this country is riddled with problems, but I simply do not believe that there is a cure-all for anything and to coin an overused, albeit apt phrase, that anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is probably selling something.  

For the record, I am one who loves to share good news as much as the next person, but I personally believe that other people's health choices should be respected and that evangelizing should be limited to matters of eternal salvation.


"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."  


Vacation Crash

I read about a study this week that showed that vacations are good for the soul.  
Occasionally taking time off from our daily duties for a few days helps relieve depression symptoms and makes people happier and healthier when they return.  

Our vacation last week was perfect for us.  
We slept late every morning, hiked a lot, visited new places, and ate out for most dinners. 
 It was exactly the kind of rejuvenation that we needed...

which was lucky for Cami...

because she did quite a number on our car today…  

 and she was lucky to have gotten the well-rested, still-on-vacation-high mom and dad when it happened.

As you can imagine, she was completely devastated by the whole incident and she is not looking forward to working off her ticket and insurance deductible amounts or going without a car for her senior year, but  we are very grateful that no one was hurt and that the people she hit were kind to her. 

I'm thinking though that all this might warrant another vacation for us soon.     

If you're going somewhere fun and relaxing soon, let me know if you have room for any stowaways! 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where Are We?

This home has 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and it's filled with one of a kind furniture and artwork from all over the world...

There are over 8000 acres of stunningly gorgeous rolling forested hills...

including acres and acres of beautifully manicured gardens...

a vineyard and a greenhouse!

So did we hop on a plane and fly to England to visit an old manor house? 


We spent the day at the home of George and Edith Vanderbilt in Asheville, NC!
George is the grandson of the railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and clearly had inherited an awful lot of money.

It's called the Biltmore Mansion.
"Bilt" from his ancestral town of Bildt, Holland.  "More" from the old English term for hilly countryside.

Built in 1895, it is the largest private residence in the United States.  It was completely overpriced and over-the-top opulent, but still worth the visit.   The attention to detail was amazing and it was quite the American version of a European castle.    We actually looked into seeing if we could buy it, but it was a tad out of our price range.   Plus I decided that needing a map to get around our own house might get a little old after a while.

Since we can't stay here and make it the  "Gooldmore", I guess we will head back home tomorrow.
It's been a fantastic week of vacation and next week we will spend slurping up every last bit of summer we can get, because school starts the next week!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

CAUTION: Llamas on Board

Taking a hike can be invigorating and satisfying, but it can also be long and tedious….
especially if it's hot and you have to tote around a gazillion water bottles on your back.  

Yesterday we had a hike along a creek to a waterfall planned, but the weather was hot and oppressively humid.    So what did we do?  

We hired slave labor (i.e. llamas) to tote our food and drinks for us! 

Meet Taylee and Rocky...

 JJ and Blackfoot,

and White Lightning and General Jackson! 

They made for hard-working and entertaining walking companions. 

Sure, they also had stinky breath and insatiable appetites...

but they were also lovable...

and oh so cute!  

They brought us up to this waterfall where we had a picnic lunch...

and then over the longest swinging bridge in the whole USA!

 It was a hike we won't soon forget!

Thank you to Steve at Smoky Mountain Llama Treks for an amazing experience!

Ellie is already asking when we can come back! 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Top of the World

Today we took an elevator to the top of the world.

The view from the top of Chimney Rock was stunning and inspiring.  

We soaked up the view and reflected on the beauty and awe of this magnificent world that God has created.

Afterward we hiked to Hickory Nut Falls, 

where a couple of us literally got soaked. 

 During the afternoon we took a trek to the nearby Lake Lure…the same lake you can see in the distance in the first couple of pictures on this post.   It was as lovely up close as it was from a distance. 

The fish were plentiful, but not quite as big (or as fishy) as we had hoped to catch!
All in all, it was a great day enjoying spending time with family in this beautiful part of the world!


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