It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: NC

Week 52-The Final Countdown, Day 2-Thanksgiving

Gobble, gobble people!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I can’t believe it’s basically been a year since I had the idea for this blog.  Thanksgiving gives us all the excuse to really think about what we’re thankful for in our lives.  On the last Thursday of November we seem to love our family a little more, appreciate our friends, and really be grateful for the huge meal that piles up on our plates.  Here’s my question.  Why can’t we keep that feeling around all year-long?  What is so special about that one day in November?  This year I’m thankful for more blessings that I can count.  You out there reading this are on the top of my list.

Even though Turkey Day is about being thankful, it’s even more so about the food.  Hey, the truth hurts.  That doesn’t mean we can’t be thankful for all that glorious food we shove down our gullets.  This time last year I was thankful for food for an entire week!  So it only seems right that tonight I am thankful for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.  Since they opened their doors in 1982 Second Harvest has distributed more than 100 million pounds to 18 different counties in the western end of NC.  The simple mission of sharing the abundance so no one goes hungry is as powerful as it is short.  Something else that I feel like I’ve said a billion times over the past year is that an idea doesn’t have to be complicated in order to change lives.  There is so much food that goes to waste on a daily basis that could be given to those who truly need it.  That’s the whole idea that food banks were founded on.  The other great thing about Second Harvest?  A little bit of money goes a long way.  A single dollar donated by you or me will buy $12 worth of food that will make 7 meals!  That’s way better than the dollar menu at McDonalds.  Golden Harvest Food Bank shares both the mission and the year they were established with Second Harvest.  The work they do is a little further South than Second Harvest, but it’s needed because hunger knows no boundaries.  GHFB has a Back Pack program similar to other charities, where they work to bridge the weekend meal gap that many students experience.  It only costs $14 a month to sponsor a child for the 32 week school year.  I bet all of us have spent $14 on ourselves for a single meal out.  I can spare a meal out a month.  It boggles my mind how simple it is to fix some of the world’s biggest problems if we were all just a little more giving.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina Donation

Golden Harvest Food Bank Donation

So here’s to you Thanksgiving!  You provided the inspiration I needed to start Thanks-4-Giving.  You’re also the reason that countless people return home every year.  You are the glue that keeps us together when all else fails.  You can’t say no to someone you love on Thanksgiving.  You’re also the start to the holiday season, no matter how badly the department stores try to brainwash us.  Thank you for making me thankful.  Year after year, and day after day.

I think I will!

Week 39-What’s today again? Day 4-Shopping Saturday

I don’t know about you guys but my I usually reserve my Saturdays for sleeping in, drinking even more coffee than normal, and shopping baby!  It seems like the rest of the week I am either too tired or too unmotivated to get my behind to any type of store that sells anything.  I used to really only care about going shopping for clothes or fun things, but now even grocery shopping gets me pumped.  A full fridge at my house makes for a happy couple the rest of the week.  As we left Giant Eagle with a cart full of groceries today I was acutely aware of how lucky I am.  I’m thankful for the money to buy things I need, and the sense to leave the things I don’t on the shelves.

Some of my favorite grocery stores are the ones with awesome salad bars in them, like Whole Foods.  It used to be my jam to go there and get some fresh fruits and vegetables when I was nursing what you might call a “hangover” Sunday afternoon.  It turns out that WF is also one of the founding partners of the very cool Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Project.  SB2S has a vision of providing all of the children in schools with the option of having fresh fruits and vegetables every day for lunch.  I know you’re probably thinking that most kids would rather have a cheeseburger than a salad, and you might be right nine times out of ten, but if we can our children to start eating healthier for one meal a week then that’s a start.  Research has also shown that if you give children the choice, they are willing to try new foods and even incorporate them into their daily lives when they otherwise would have continued to chow down on greasy french fries.  Never forget, kids have the innate ability to surprise you.  Always.  Ten Thousand Villages was a little shop near NC State’s campus that I used to shop at from time to time in Cameron Village.  I even got a Secret Santa gift from there one year, and I still love it.  TTV is on a mission is to “create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term fair trading relationships.”  They have everything from jewelry to stationery from countries all around the world that is unique and adorable all at the same time.  You wanna know what the best part is?  They have an online store so you can shop from the comfort of you own home and support hard-working artisans with the money they deserve!  Winning!

Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools Donation

Ten Thousand Villages Shop…Buy something!

So here’s to you Shopping Saturday!  You’re the day when I get to break out my list of things I need and go crazy!  You’re also the day that I spend all my money, but you gotta spend money to make money right?  After 26, almost 27 years of shopping, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out where my money is best spent on others on any given day.  Don’t worry, something for me seems to sneak in my cart every now and again. 😉

Week 32-Ramblin’ Roads, Day 4-Asheville

It is a beautiful day here in Asheville, NC!  Jessie and Logan are getting married today, the sun is shining, and I get to share it all with my wonderful family.  Scott and I had a great time last night at the rehearsal dinner and slept like babies in our comfy hotel bed.  We slept in, had a great brunch at this little organic cafe, and then strolled around downtown Asheville looking at the sights and shops.  All in all, a perfect start to what promises to be a day to remember.  With all the wonderful little independent shops and great restaurants around town, you can tell Asheville is a community of people who welcomes everyone with open arms.  I’m so thankful to be here to share in Jessie and Logan’s special day, but I’m even more thankful that places like Asheville still exist and thrive.

Today is your day Jessie and Logan!

Ashevile is known as the land of the sky, and that doesn’t even do it justice for how gorgeous the scenery really is.  So it’s no big surprise that The American Chestnut Foundation has called Asheville home since it began in 1983.  They are restoring a species to its native land in the woodlands of the eastern United States, and helping to establish a blueprint on how to restore other tree and plant species.  TACF has turned to science in order to successfully research and breed the American chestnut tree.  American chestnuts were crucial to the economies of rural communities who depended on their nut harvest and lumber potential in order to survive.  TACF harvested its first blight free nuts back in 2005, and they hope to begin reforestation with this line by the end of the decade.  TACF is also in the business of teaching our nation’s youth about the importance of this tree so they can be sure and protect it for years to come.  Another organization that you may not think of when you think of Asheville is the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  Twenty years ago if a child was diagnosed with a brain tumor, they were essentially given a death sentence, because so little research was being conducted about this disease.  Thanks to organizations like PBTF that is no longer the case today.  They have been working since 1991 to find the cause of and cure for childhood brain tumors, increase public awareness about the disease, develop better methods for early detection, and provide support for children and their families who are in the midst of being affected by a tumor.  PBTF is the world’s largest non-governmental funding source for children’s brain tumor research.  The passion for the mission and compassion they show their patients will help them eradicate this terrible disease forever.  I love when people dream big and do everything in their power to make it happen.

The American Chestnut Foundation Donation

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Asheville!  You have great food, wonderful people, and amazing views!  I know you are a place that I will be back to visit many more times.  It’s no wonder that people want to vacation and get married here, because you exude the charm of Paris.  Thank you for holding onto your roots, and letting them grow to support a community that makes the world a better place.

Downtown Asheville

Week 12-Places I’ve lived, Day 5-Liberty,NC

I can still remember the very first time we drove the 13 miles from our cozy, comfortable house in a very nice golf course community to the house in Liberty.  It was a renovated carpet and tile store and it lacked all the bells and whistles that I had grown accustomed to.  Plus it was 13 miles further from all of my high school friends, which in tenth grade really seems like 130 miles.  I may have not liked it then, but I’m definitely thankful for it now.  The house, the huge garden, and all the charm of the little town have all grown on me over the years.  Ironically, moving to Liberty, gave me just that.

Good 'ole Liberty

The actual town of Liberty may be small but there are some pretty big charities right around the corner.  The NC Zoo is only twenty miles away in Asheboro.  The zoo is supported by the non-profit, NC Zoo Society, which helps to raise funds through membership programs, annual planned-giving campaigns, and many other programs.  Formed in 1968 the NCZS works to conserve wildlife and their habitats across the globe, and help educate and inspire the public about the nature that surrounds them.  You can even support the society by adopting a ball python, chimp, elephant, or a puffin.  Of course by adopting you don’t get to take the animals home, but you do get exclusive photos of your animal and zookeeper’s notes.  You could be on the next big reality series, Zoo Moms 2.

Next stop, Victory Junction!

Victory Junction provides life changing experiences for children with chronic illnesses and other serious conditions.  VJ was built in honor of NASCAR driver Adam Petty and has served over 11,000 children since it’s opening in 2004.  VJ camp is on 84 acres in Randleman, NC which is only about 24 miles from Liberty.  Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, and Darius Rucker are just a few of the celebrities that support VJ and don’t mind saying so.  And Kansas City better watch out cause VJ is rolling in!

NC Zoo Society Donation or Adopt a fuzzy wild child!

Victory Junction Donation

So here’s to you Liberty!  I wasn’t so sure about you at first but you have turned out to be a city of refuge for me.  A place where I can go to recharge my batteries, take a nap, swing outside in the cool breeze, and always have a good home cooked meal.  You are a place where people wave to each other, know each other by name, and love giving back to their community as much as they love the community itself.

Week 12-Places I’ve lived, Day 3-Raleigh, NC

After I graduated high school, and though I had it all figured out, I moved to Raleigh to major in animal science at North Carolina State University.  My mom, aunt, and uncle all went to NCSU so I had been cheering for the Wolfpack as far back as I could remember.  It just so happened that NCSU was one of the best schools around for animal science, and I was also blessed enough to also receive a scholarship, so it was a done deal.  I loved Raleigh so much I decided to stay and get a graduate degree there as well after a short stint in Europe during what I refer to as my “early life crisis”.  Raleigh made me who I am today, and I could never be thankful enough for everything the capital city has given me.

The SPCA of Wake County has been on my radar since I first moved to Raleigh.  I can’t even remember how many times I went down to the SPCA to look for a dog, but it was quite a few.  My good friend Krap, don’t worry that’s not her real name, also got a about 10 of us to participate in the K9-3K Dog Walk for the SPCA.  We had such a great time helping such a good cause that was close to all of our hearts.  I think the dogs liked it too.  The SPCA in Raleigh was founded in 1967 and helps animals get adopted into loving homes as well providing low cost spay/neuter surgeries for the general public.  Plus they just became a no-kill agency in July 2010, and is working toward becoming a whole no-kill community.  Another cause that I was lucky enough to be a part of in Raleigh was Helping Horse Therapeutic Riding Program.  Even though I wasn’t able to be as active in this charity as I would have liked, it really touched my heart and opened my eyes.  For over twenty years HH has been providing therapeutic horseback riding lessons to individuals with both physical and mental disabilities.  There are no words to describe the joy on the faces of these kids when they are in the saddle.  They may not be able to walk or sit up on their own, but once they mount their four-legged friends all bets are off.  HH has even had riders who have been non-verbal for years speak their very first words on horseback.  Thankful?  How about miraculous.

SPCA of Wake County Donation

Helping Horse Donation

So here’s to you Raleigh!  Or as we so affectionately refer to you as, Raleighwood!  You are the capitol of NC and the home of the Wolfpack and the Hurricanes.  You welcomed me with open arms when I left home, and you made sure I played as hard as I worked.  You showed me that it’s not the size of the city, but the size of the heart that keeps the city beating, and giving.

Ahh sweet Raleigh

Week 12-Places I’ve lived, Day 2-Greensboro, NC

Greensboro was the second place that I called home when we moved in 1997.  It is where my Dad grew up and where my grandparents still lived at the time.  Of course I was sad to leave all my friends, but looking back it gave me a completely different set of opportunities than those I had in Edenton.  Greensboro has had it’s fair share of historical events take place within the city limits.  Some of you may have heard of the Woolworth sit-in in 1960.  Greensboro is also home to a plethora of colleges and universities, which makes for a very eclectic group of people you’ll find downtown on a Saturday night.  I’m so thankful for the comfort and love I feel whenever I go home to Greensboro.


Greensboro is the third largest city in the entire state of NC, so there are lots of deserving charities and organizations, which made it difficult to pick just two.  Free the Kids is a non-profit that helps provide food, medical care, and educational instruction to the children of Haiti.  Even though I only had the opportunity to travel to Haiti once, it really opened my eyes to the tremendous amount of help this country needs.  FTK was founded in 1998 and its base in Haiti is located just outside of a town called Les Cayes, the 140 acre Hope Village is current home to over 500 boys and girls and 2,200 children attend our schools but do not reside there.  They recently just received a donation of 1,000s of new shoes from TOMS in December 2010.  I love when two great charities come together!  Another great organization that helps people a little closer to Greensboro is the Greensboro Urban Ministry.  GUM was founded in 1967 with the mission to express the love of God to people in need through practical action in the greater Greensboro area.  GUM is supported by over 200 congregations from Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish denominations.  GUM has several annual events and fundraisers that help people meet their basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing.  GUM is where ending homelessness begins.  I love that, and wish I’d come up with that line!

Free the Kids Donation

Greensboro Urban Ministry Donation

So here’s to you Greensboro!  You are where I met the girlfriends I still see every holiday, and the teachers who shaped my future.  You are the place where I learned to drive a car and earn a paycheck.  You have been there for me to come home to for the past 14 years.  You are a part of the Triad that is making North Carolina a better place to live.  Greensboro has been giving back for years, and they ain’t stopping anytime soon.

Great Greensboro

Week 12-Places I’ve lived, Day 1-Edenton, NC

After quite a few adventures in my short life, and specifically in the past couple of years, I’m thankful for all the great memories I have made.  After brainstorming some ideas for this week’s theme, Scott and I figured out this I have lived in exactly seven different places.  Perfect.  Today I’m going to start with the place that still feels like home to this day.  It’s where I was born, raised, and even got married in 2009.  I’m thankful for the rich family and US history in one of the south’s prettiest little towns.


For non NC natives

One organization that was very important to my grandmother, who also lived in Edenton, was her local Ruritan Club, the Rocky Hock Ruritans.  It was also pretty important to me because they sponsored my t-ball, baseball, and softball team for several years.  The Ruritans were founded in 1928 and it’s 30,000 national members are now serving over 1,100 local communities.  Ruritans are founded on the core principles of fellowship, goodwill, and community service.  Unlike other service groups Ruritans don’t usually have national programs because they focus on the community around them, and help organizations such as 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and FFA.  Plus they always had really good dinners that my grandmother would take me too.  Monarch is a non-profit organization that is also in Edenton and is dedicated to helping those with mental illness, intellectual and physical disabilities, and substance abuse.  Monarch was founded in 1958 and opened it’s doors in Edenton in 2009.  Monarch believes that everybody should have the opportunity for their dream to be realized, no matter what.  They work hard to create “The Dream Revolution“; a world where children and adults with disabilities live peacefully with those around them and thrive in their daily life.  Dreams are taking flight all over NC thanks to Monarch.

Ruritan National Foundation Donation

Monarch Donation

So here’s to you Edenton!  You are where I lost my first tooth and learned to ride a bike.  You are the home of my roots and lots of people who I love dearly.  You were the place that I thrived the first (almost) thirteen years of my life.  Even though you may be small you pack a big charity punch.  Sure the tea is sweet, and the Chicken Kitchen has the best coleslaw ever but it’s the giving spirit of the community that I could never be thankful enough for.


It was Edenton born and raised, in the cotton fields is where I spent most of my days...