Monthly Archives: September 2015

Parents Weekend at Davis & Elkins


It’s that time of year once again…our third fall journey to D&E to see our son play college soccer.  We like to come when we can catch two home games. This year our trip coincided with Parent’s Weekend which has been a real treat!  One of my favorite things about a small school such as D&E is running into faculty and staff who recognize us and the resemblance to my son before we can even introduce ourselves.  I also love that Wes is not only well known for his soccer abilities but for his class participation and for taking photos of campus activities for various school publications.

After a great game against Salem International on Thursday, our family–including Wes’ girlfriend Bethany–had a fun philosophical conversation at the Elkins Pizza Hut.  With three college students taking philosophy classes at two different colleges, the conversation was very lively and thought provoking.  “But how do you know this is REALLY a chair.  What MAKES this a chair?”

Friday was spent around campus playing ping pong, eating at Caddy Daddy’s snack bar and roaming around the different facilities.  Beth and Bo performed an impromptu bongo seranade in the chapel.

bongo seranade

Whitney was able to sit in on one of her brother’s classes and made an alarming discovery.

The height of the mirrors at my brother's school is unreasonable.

The height of the mirrors at my brother’s school is unreasonable.

It was a treat to tour the Stirrup Gallery at the Myles Center for the Arts and hear my 16 year old son and 18 year old daughter, say things like “woah…cool!” and  “My teacher would love this!”  The gallery includes everything from ivory narwhal tusks, to an armadillo purse, to guns from the 1700s, as well as a signed Picasso and a 1900 year old solid gold Roman coin.

roman coingallery gunsarmadillo purse

When Bo commented on the Native American pottery, the curator offered to take us into the refurbished art studio one flight down and introduce us to the professors.  Downstairs we had the great pleasure of meeting Art Professor Michael Doig who showed us around the pottery and painting spaces.

It's a dinosaur that looks like its inflatable but it's made out of clay! MIND=BLOWN

It’s a dinosaur that looks like its inflatable but it’s made out of clay! MIND=BLOWN

Michael spent a significant amount of time sharing about D&E’s approach to the care and keeping of Art Majors.  We were all inspired and grateful for the personalized attention, the wealth of information, and the exhilarating tour.

Bo campus

We trekked back across the hilly campus and hung out in the common room of Wes’ suite playing Mario Cart for a few hours, then it was off to Halliehurst for a cookout.


Burgers, hot dogs, cupcakes and brownies with caramel coffee were served with additional sweetness.  We finished the evening with a rousing game of Bingo (Beth won a Tshirt) and s’mores by the fire pits.

On Saturday we enjoyed the Flynn Planetarium show and heard some amazing stories and how to navigate the night sky.  Then it was back to Nuttall Field for a great afternoon of Senator Soccer.

Game Day



An especially spunky student in the stands brought the Senators some serious mojo on the field. Fueled by Skittles and perhaps Mt. Dew, this dedicated student learned the names of the opposing players and yelled for them to pass, shoot, stay on their feet, and FIX YOUR SOCKS!!  After a blowout by the ladies team, we had a ball cheering on our Boys in Red. After double OT, we held Ohio Valley to a tie.  There were so many fun activities planned for Parent Weekend, we were unable to enjoy them all — including Family Feud, The Amazing Race around campus, a hike at Timberland Resort, concerts, paintball and a worship service.

We feel really blessed to get a taste of our son’s Home Away From Home at Davis & Elkins College.  The mission of D&E is abundantly clear and certainly effective:

“To prepare and inspire success and thoughtful engagement in the world.”  

Family Selfie woods 2015

What an amazing place to spend four years.  Thank you to all the faculty, staff, coaches, and student body for cultivating such a special place and a wonderful weekend to experience it.


Girlfriends — Rhesa


My parents moved to my hometown when I was under two years old for my dad’s job as a French professor at Carson-Newman College (now Carson-Newman University).  They immediately found friendship with another young family who had a daughter my same age. Because of this serendipitous occurrence, Rhesa is the friend I have had since before my awareness of friendship. After both of our moms had both of our baby sisters, my mom went back to teaching elementary school while Rhesa’s mom stayed home and kept us four girls.

We're so fancy.

Rhesa, me, Shera and Wendy.  Fashion Forward

I got to go to the BIG church with Rhesa a few times after a Saturday sleep over. Almost all my friends went there too. They even let me sing in the children’s choir, which was equivalent to fame in our small town. The Big Church had a personalized bus that would take you there from school as well as a bunch of nice ladies who would feed you dinner. This was the closest thing to being a rock star I have ever experienced (or would want to).

When we were seniors in high school, Rhesa’s dad planned a college visit to his Alma Mater—Samford University. I was invited to tag along. We stopped for Dunkin Donuts, and as we paused for the train on the way out of Jefferson County I felt the world expand. Although I hadn’t applied anywhere out of state, I fell in love with that Birmingham campus and somewhere on the quad decided it was the place for me. Rhesa ended up at Belmont in Nashville and so our friendship became a long-distance one.

We picked out bridesmaids dresses for each other and had our receptions in the same exact building—Carson Newman’s Sarah Swann Hall–on the campus where our families became friends. As each of our children were born, we celebrated and commiserated together. In one particular crisis I recall Rhesa reaching out to me, encouraging me in some way while I was being stubborn and resistant. After speaking at length and praying together, I hung up the phone and thought, “Well if Rhesa’s worried about me I better do something…for HER sake.”

Rhesa is the kindest, most generous person I know. She is tender and caring. She loves deeply and with abandon. She is neat and careful and diligent. She is thoughtful and cautious and warm. Rhesa’s concern for others keeps her busy all the time and makes her an outstanding sister, wife, mother, daughter, student, teacher and friend. If Rhesa were an animal, she would be the most adorable warm baby bunny, but one with a sense of humor that makes you laugh. Like Thumper from Bambi. Yeah that’s it. Rhesa is Thumper. Love ya so much girl, and I thank God for bringing our families together, for such a time as always.

You'll be singing that song now for the rest of the day. Sorry I'm not sorry.

You’ll be singing that song now for the rest of the day. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Girlfriends – Rhonda


It is very fitting that Lionel Richie was on the TODAY show this morning announcing his residency in Vegas–on my friend Rhonda’s birthday since it was at her house on the floor of her mom’s bedroom I first heard this on a turntable.


Truly a life-changing album

We became friends in middle school — passing many notes, flirting with many boys, and learning many dance moves.  We both made cheerleader in 8th grade at Jefferson Middle School.

That’s J-E-F with an F!

F-E-R with an S!

S-O-N with a J-e-F-f-E-r-S-O-N!

…in case you were wondering.


**that’s her, the brunette on the bottom, and me right behind her with my Dorothy Hamill-if-she-was-a-vampire ‘do**

Rhonda was such a fun friend because she was sassy, confident, beautiful and didn’t care about manners as much as my mom would have liked.  “Pass the rocks, Carole” earned her a scowl, much to my delight, when she ate dinner at our house on one occasion.  She was referring to Mom’s homemade bread instead of the biscuits in a can she was used to at her house.  In the angst that is middle school mother/daughter relations, Rhonda made me look SO GOOD.

Deep down my parents loved Rhonda–I think she helped them lighten up a bit.

You know who else loved Rhonda?  The boys in my neighborhood.  Well, one boy in particular.  We had some great times hopping from house to house, swimming in the lake and “exploring nature.”

On into high-school we did not continue cheering together but opted instead to do many other exciting things with our time.  The cheerleading judges were a large part of this decision, but we reluctantly agreed with them and still managed to have a large time.  We went to dances and got our licenses and broadened our horizons and friendships.

Time has flown, there have been husbands and children, careers and moves.  Although I can’t remember the last time I saw my pal Rhonda in real life, I follow the excitement of her major league baseball playing son, her new job and her adorable baby girl on Facebook.  Rhonda is a fierce and adventurous spirit.  I am forever grateful that she came into my life at a time I would have otherwise been even more awkward, self-conscious, and cautious than I got to be with her around.  She is the one who, looking back, was the one who taught me not to take everything so seriously.

“Go for it once in a while!”

“Come on, let’s just try!”

“Gimme some more-a them rocks, Carole.”

Courageous.  Funny.  Gorgeous.  Irreverent.  Kind.  Energetic.  Vivacious.  RHONDA.

Thanks for being born, girlfriend!


You go, with your bad blue-eyed self.

Summer Summary 2015


It’s officially the last day of summer–Labor Day 2015.
Here are some of my personal highlights:

Rocking out to Billy Joel, 38 Special, and the Deloreans
Finishing my first triathlon
Auditioning for a musical
Taking an epic road trip with a great friend
Witnessing several answers to prayer
Exploring the beach with a toddler
Investigating a horseshoe crab with a 7 year old
Teaching my 16 year old to drive
Walking approximately 200 miles of boardwalk, beach front, and nature trails
Observing a rehabilitated sea turtle release
Reading, eating, and sleeping outside
Putt Putt, Pizza and Pool parties with middle-schoolers
Moving into a new church building
Taking teenagers to King’s Dominion and out for ice cream
Meeting new “significant others” and watching our family expand
Learning new skills, taking a class, and sharing ideas with co-workers
Consuming copious amounts of black bean salsa, a few hundred shrimp, and taste testing all the crab cakes in Hampton Roads
Watching a school of dolphins frolic right in front of me
Sending all 4 kids to work and watching them succeed
Celebrating 24 years of marriage
Adding to my flip flop collection
Buying a bathing suit I LIKE
Angel Water, Granger county tomatoes, fireworks and watermelon
Finding a new watering hole for after work, a new barbeque place for Saturdays, and a new waterfront restaurant for special occasions
Hearing from an old friend and catching up like no time has passed
Meeting new friends, making new memories, and dreaming new dreams

Virginia Beach sunset

Good-bye Summer ’15. You’ve been a great one!