Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 Natchez Trace Duathlon

So many of you have watched Stephen grow up running through the streets of Powder Springs with skimpy shorts and a headband. He moved on to Athens and his love for running has grown and now he has added cycling. On March 21, 2010 Stephen competed in his first Duathlon which included running 2 miles, biking 15 miles and then ended with running a 5K. The day was awful as far as the weather. But Jill, Katherine, David and I packed up to travel an hour and 45 minutes away in the rain and cold to cheer our boy on. We had such a great time. Jill and Katherine chatted the entire time catching up and David held an umbrella over me so I could run around and take pictures, he sure is a sweetie! Since we did not know what to expect, we tried to position ourselves so we could see him as much as we could. He did great in each event, in fact he was forth to cross the finish line out of about 160 participants and he WON the Male Overall category. He was so excited! He had trained hard and now he would enjoy the fruit of his labor. A side note that only you mommas can understand, Stephen and the girls went to pack up all this gear and David had walked back up to the car. I was waiting in the lobby of the conference center and several guys were huddled around congratulating each other and then the conversation turned to “who was the guy with the red beard and blue shirt?” Stephen had no sponsors and was not running under UGA, so no one knew him. I had the privileged of telling them all about Stephen. They were thrilled to know who their competition was and now I am sure they will keep up with him at other races.

2010 FGC

Here are the pictures from a very special night, in fact, it was a wonderful weekend with lots of friends and family. Katherine looked beautiful! (remember to click over to her caringbridge site for all the information

Updates In Pictures February and March

The above pictures are when we traveled to Georgia to be a part of Annabelle Sharliss Whitehead's baptism. We stayed with Connie and Heather and had a wonderful time! The last picture is at the 2010 State Wrestling Tournament - Katherine and Alex - Encouraging their team!

Many of you know that I have published my sweet Katherine's journey with cancer on her Caring Bridge Site and now it has become an ongoing update of our family because so many want to hear about all her. That being said, I must admit that pictures are not easy when it comes to the site because the page will only hold so many pictures and we want to keep the important ones about her journey so I will download pictures here to allow friends and family to be a part of her activities.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Been Away For A While! But I Am Back

It is January 22nd so we can say that 2010 is truly underway. My last post was in July and I must say I did a very long and detailed post with many pictures telling everyone about our Make A Wish trip to the Hamptons. As you can tell, taking the time to sit down and blog has not been first on my list of things to do. With the holidays, birthday celebrations and just day to day life, it seems the minutes and hours of the day have been full.

Several things have promoted me to "get better in 2010". First, we seem to think about what we want to accomplish during the year in January and also we look back at what we did not accomplish in the year prior. I even put a question before all my guest prior to the blessing of our New Year's Dinner of "What two things do you want to accomplish this year?". Of course I received instant whining because they thought it should just be one thing, but several were going to graduate from high school and college this year and that my friend was too easy. David prayed, we ate a wonderful meal and I allowed the question to leave the room for several hours. After all the dishes were done, which by the way was more work than usual because my dishwasher broke the minute the Wood and Smith family arrived, and once all the dishes were put away, I sat on the counter of the kitchen and began asking everyone to give me their answer. The usual answers were the goals regarding Exercise, Health, School, and even Passion such as minstry were spoken. I loved listening to all the "reasons" and also how they planned to accomplish these goals. I am hoping I will have all 12 people back in my home at the end of the year and see how many accomplished their goals. And what God showed them along the way.

As for me, it was simple, I wanted to be better about Exercise and my Health, you know I am not getting any younger and it seems my body tells me everyday how I have abused it in times past. Also, the task of "trying to matter" is very important to me. I want to work where God truly wants me to be because I will have three children in college all at the same time and I want to help in every way I can. For this reason, I feel I need some extra training in various areas to beef up my knowledge so I can be a better assist to the company who employs me. Also, God has stirred my heart in the area of digging deeper in His word and allowing myself to be transparent in helping other women who are struggling with life. Of course it is so easy to be helpful to your friends and family, they are right there and know you for who you are. But I want God to truly use me where I am all the time. Yeap, I know what you are thinking, "Sharliss Jane you have just set yourself up for the devil to come and hit you right between the eyes." Well, he has thought in times past that he could take me down, but he has not accomplished that so I know God knows just what He is doing.

As many of you know, I have been keeping a Caring Bridge Site for Katherine, my unbelievable daughter who showed me so much courage and grace while she struggled through 813 days of chemo treatment. I have shown through my entries that God was with us each and every day. Several people have made the statement "The Caring Bridge Site seems like a blog now" and now that Katherine is better, they truly do not read my updates and they sure don't sign the guest book with words of encouragement and for a moment, those words stung because I feel in my heart I want to continue the site to allow people to see Katherine's walk, but a part of me understands how they feel, but God will not let me stop "talking".

So here I am, pouring over a blog named Sharliss Jane. I have not stopped the Caring Bridge Site and I feel I will know the right time, perhaps it will be Katherine who tells me to stop, we will see what the days hold. As for me, well, "I am just trying to matter". Truly. God has put so many thoughts in my head that some days it is just too heavy to walk around with.

Another area that I am determined to accomplish is true scheduled exercise at least three times a week. This means I get up two times a week with my sweet husband around 5:30 a.m. yes, it is dark when I try to open my eyes and go to the gym for one hour. Of course I hate it, but when I leave, I feel wonderful and the day seems to have "something extra". Now, don't get all excited, I have only been doing this for two weeks, so I still have a long way to go to make this a "life style" change. I am focused on my Core. I know that if I concentrate on strengthening this area, it will pay off all the way around.

My daily quiet time has been full of excitement, tears, talking....ok, screaming out loud and then days where I just sit and allow Him to love on me as I weep with a heavy heart. These are the times that I know I am strengthening my Spiritual Core and yes again, it will affect my daily walk with the Lord and His directions. I have begun a study of the book of Ruth and I am so excited. I have traveled many journeys in my life that have made me feel like I was all alone, hungry, scared, lifeless and even questioning God but I continued walking because there was always someone to help me move forward. So I did with eight other women at my table and I have the honor of leading and encouraging them to dig deep and see what God wants to show them through this study.

As I began the study, it struck me when the author said "Godliness affects things. It matters not just on the front row of church or when we get to heaven but in all things, right now." In times past I have spent lots of time on things that seemed so important at the time but exhausted and frustrated me especially when my heart was never touched.

While friends, I am almost 50, in fact, I will turn 49 this year and I plan on listening to God and my heart and when the year is complete I do pray I am exhausted with the work and direction He has asked me to launch into. Yes, I want this year to matter and to be one that will be a corner stone in the years to come.

So, what are your goals my friend? You may only have two but you could also be like me and only talk about the two but you have about 20 that are stirring in your heart.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Make A Wish Trip To The Hamptons!

A Wish Come True!

All the laundry is caught up and I even have all the pictures from my camera downloaded. Now all I need are the pictures from Brenda and Katy’s camera and I hope to finish Kaye’s scrapbook soon documenting this wonderful trip.

It all began at 5:15 a.m. with a ride to the airport in a white stretch limo. Will was our driver and was impressed that we were ready and waiting at the door right on time. Little did he know some of us had only had two hours of sleep. Our flight to Long Island was uneventful and yes, some of us slept most of the way.

We arrived right on time and were so excited to begin our adventure. Brenda Smith flew in from Atlanta and met us at the airport. She had made all her arrangements to come up to the Hamptons and see the girls enjoy their adventure.

We arrived in Southampton and walked around in the beautiful town. The flowers were beautiful and the town was buzzing with the lunch crowd. We ate and then went to The Southampton Inn to check in. Our room was very nice and we had lots of room for all four of us. Poor David, he shared a room with three women, lots of hair products, hair dyers, and all the girlie things we think we need. He was such a sport! We traveled to Sag harbor for dinner.

The next morning we were up early and the girls looked beautiful. This was the day Katherine had been waiting for. Johan and Corrine, the Make A Wish representatives arrived and we met with Dede Gotthelf, the owner of the Southampton. Then we were off to met Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. We traveled for more than an hour because of traffic. Mrs. Garten lives in East Hampton, another beautiful town. I must admit, I had butterflies in my stomach but from the time Ina opened the door with open arms and hugs, I just cannot put into words how wonderful the afternoon was. She is such a lovely woman. She hugged Katherine and you could tell it truly touched her to meet Kaye.

After all the introductions Ina gave us a tour of her grounds which included her flower and vegetable garden. The lawn between her home and The Barn hosts so many beautiful trees and flowers. It was cool to see because this is just what you see on her show. We entered The Barn and it was just a relaxing place complete with music and flowers. The long table was set and she asked Katherine if she wanted to help her put the finishing touches on the food. That sure made Katherine happy. I went into the kitchen with them and that is were we gave Ina the scrapbook of Katherine’s journey so she could see just were Kaye had come from. She loved it!

We sat down to lunch with Katy and Katherine right by Ina’s side and the laughs began. For more than three hours we enjoyed a lobster blue cheese salad, fresh bread and fruit tea. The conversation covered the board and we loved that Ina is a lovely lady. We told us of her travels and how she arrived at where she was. The stories around the table brought lots of laughs and tears. We also asked Ina what her favorite restaurants were and she told us about 1176 House and Red Bar. She asked if we would like to see if she could get us reservation at Red Bar. We were thrilled to learn we had reservations and Ina laughed when she told us “you have reservations and I wondered who we bumped”. Seems Red Bar is were all the stars of for dinner.

We also had the opportunity to met Ina’s assistant and friend, Barbara. Barbara told us about many funny moments on the show that you would never know had happened. Johan and Corrine had Ina’s latest cookbook for Katherine so Ina could sign it. It is truly a lovely project. I read it like a novel on the plan and have already tried two receipts. Might I say awesome! After lunch we enjoyed coffee and her frozen key lime pie. If she had turned her back, I think I could have just finished the pie off. It was cool, tangy and wonderful. The visit had to come to an end, but when we left, we knew we had made new friends. Friends that would be added to the Christmas Card list.

During lunch, Ina had jotted down all the locations of the local vendors that she uses. We took our time going back to Southampton and visited everything on the list. Our first stop was Loaves and Fishes. Anna Pump is the owner and a very close friend of Ina’s. In fact, the current cookbook is dedicated to her. We told Anna about why we were in the Hamptons and had her sign Katherine’s copy of the cookbook. The day was fun, full and had brought lots of emotion.

We finished at Red Bar with one of the best meals I have ever had. The place was buzzing and when we were seated, the waiter brought champagne compliments of Ina and Shirley Temples for the girls. We enjoyed every bit of the evening and when it was time to ask for the check or waiter informed us the owner Kirk Basnight wanted to pick up our dinner. We were floored and felt so blessed. Katherine walked over to Kirk, who was very cute might I say, and thanked him for our dinner. He hugged and kissed her and said it was his pleasure. We left with our hearts full and went back to the Inn for a much needed nights sleep.

Every morning David and I walked down to The Golden Pear to pickup coffee and muffins for the girls. The ate breakfast in bed everyday. Saturday, we packed up and traveled to the Southampton Yacht Club with Dede and her son Eddie. Eddie took the girls out for a sailing lesson and Dede drove us around on her personal boat so we could watch. The day was wonderful. Dede even took us out the channel a ways so we could see all the beautiful homes along the coast. The girls had a blast and Eddie was such a wonderful young man. We found out that he is very interested in Vanderbilt University here in Nashville and would be down sometime in September to visit.

We went back to the Inn and Dede treated us to lunch and more wonderful conversation about the Hamptons. The girls and David went back for a nap and Brenda and I walked around the town and also side streets where some of the most beautiful homes were unveiled. They are surrounded by 10 to 12 foot hedges but you can see them through the driveway.

Later that day we drove all the way up to the point of Long Island New York. Beautiful, just beautiful. We arrived in the town of Montauk where we went to the Montauk Point Lighthouse. We climbed all the way to the top and enjoyed the beautiful view. Then we had dinner at Gosman’s restaurant and sat out by the point and watched the sun go down. Another perfect day!

Sunday began with a day at the Spa for the girls and then we traveled out to the Riverhead area and own out into the farming area of Long Island. Again, a beautiful place. We went to the Pindar Vineyard where Kerri met us. Make A Wish was having a fundraising event and everyone was thrilled to met Katherine. We roamed through the tasting room and then Kerri had lunch ready for us under the pavilion. We sat and enjoyed the live music and then Kerri gave us a tour of the Vineyard including the processing areas. After the tour, we took the girls out into the vineyard and the sunflower patch for lots of pictures.

With our tummies full and a hand full of sunflowers we were off to another local vineyard, Martha Clara. There we received a tour via horse and buggy. It was a pretty place and the ride was a great way to see the entire vineyard. This vineyard is owned by the man who owned the Entenmanns bakery. We had seen a lot of the beauty of this state today and ended with dinner in downtown Riverhead. While waiting for our dinner we enjoyed a fireworks display right outside on the sidewalk. It was amazing! We all thought it so nice for Riverhead to go to this much trouble just for us but found out they were having a blues music festival.

The trip ended with one more stroll down through the shops in Southampton. We said goodbye and all made a pack to come back to visit all the new friends we had made. I asked Katherine if this is what she wanted, she told me with a smile it was more than she imagined. Her wish truly did come true and Katy told me later that this vacation was wonderful and we made lots of new friends that we would keep in touch with.