Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year in Review: January-May 2016

I haven't been keeping up with my blog as often, but since it's the last day of 2016, I wanted to do a recap of the highlights:

I went on a mission trip to Belize, my first of three international trips in 2016. You can read all about the Belize trip here.

It was my birthday month and I celebrated with my mom and several of my friends throughout the month.

This month I tried out a clean eating plan called "Whole30" and enjoyed the benefits of getting back on a healthier track of eating. I did another 30-day round in September and it has become a life-style change, for the most part.

Also, in March, Daniel had his Junior Recital at the University of Tennessee and it was great to see his accomplishments as a drummer.

Mom and I celebrated Easter together in Nashville. At the end of the month, I went to Knoxville to see Daniel play again and got to spend some time with Doug and Leanne.

Fun times spent with my community group "Breaking Out" and with our church family at a picnic on the church property. I also hosted a cook out for Memorial Day.

Sister-Friend Cruise 2016

Back in March 2015, I got an email saying that I had won a cruise. Being the pragmatic skeptic that I am, I immediately called the number (it was a legit AAA office in Florida) and learned that I had indeed won because I had been entered in a grand prize drawing when I had won a gift card from a smaller recipe contest in the Fall of 2014. I went to pick up the cruise vouchers at the Nashville AAA office and got the info to start planning my free cruise for two.

Fast-forward to November 2016 and it was finally time for me and my sister-friend, Leanne, to go on the cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Leanne lives in Central Florida, so I flew to Orlando and spent the weekend with Leanne and Doug. On Monday, November 14, Leanne and I drove to Tampa to board the ship, "Brilliance of the Seas."

It was a five-night cruise that stopped at ports in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. My thoughts after the cruise were, "I've got to figure out how to do this again!"

Here are some highlights of each day:

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites: Family Time

When I left to come home from my big adventure this summer, we all knew that it was a big possibility that we'd be getting some more time together in September. It was a huge gift to be able to have time together and we soaked up every minute!

On the Sunday when they were here, E was baptized and it was a special time for our family. She had her grandparents from Texas and Tennessee present, as well as other family and friends. Such a joy to see her take this step!

Daniel came home for the weekend to see everyone. He got to have some fun with his cousins and they enjoyed having someone to climb on and "horse around" with (no picture, but he literally let them ride him like a horse while they played).

 I also loved this picture of Daniel and Mary Lane walking back from playing at a playground. They are our two July babies and have lots to talk about when they're together!

Grandma was also excited to have some time with everyone and got lots of hugs and kisses!

One of the things that the girls wanted to be sure they could do was have a sleep over at Aunt Nette's house! We had breakfast for dinner with colored pancakes, bacon and blueberries and watched a movie together before we had to go to bed. They also found things that they remembered playing with at my house!

It was a fast week, but the Masseys got to see lots of friends and we had some good times together as a family. We are thankful for that unexpected gift (and twice for me) and know that the Lord will keep us close in our hearts and minds until the next time we can be together!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Up, up and away in September

Oh, how I wish I could be writing about taking a balloon flight in September, but not this year. However, I was very happy and excited to get a chance to go to the Music City Hot Air Balloon Festival on the first Sunday in September!

It started out as a hot, sticky outing, but as the sun started going down, the temps lowered and it turned out to be a very enjoyable time. The venue was small enough to allow for viewing the balloons as they were inflated and then at the end, there was a "balloon glow" with all eleven balloons lighting up for the glow effect. Simply beautiful!

And I was pretty giddy when I got very close to the fence to watch one of the balloons inflate and end up in the air right over my head. The balloons stayed tethered, but it was so cool to see them be unfurled on the ground and then watch as the crew directed hot air into the mouth of the balloon and eventually got it upright and then up in the air!


It was also very fun to introduce my friend Anne Marie to "up close" hot air balloons. I think I've almost convinced her to be my flight buddy someday!

Erica is Eight!

Erica turned eight years old on August 22! Time has literally flown by, but I am so proud of the girl she is and how she shines her light to others!

August Recap

Well, I haven't been keeping up with my blog a lot lately. I can blame social media, which I partake in way too much, or my busy schedule. I guess it was a combination of all of it, but I do want to catch up and continue to have this place to document my life (and thoughts).

Let's see, after I got back from my trip to visit my sister and family, my feet hit the ground running with starting a new part-time job at the YMCA close to my house. In August, I started taking two weeknight shifts a week and two Saturday afternoon shifts a month as a Membership Greeter. I basically welcome everyone who walks into the Y and also try to say something as they walk out the door later. I have been going there as a member for several years, so this just feels like an extension of that, with the added bonus of a free membership and paycheck.

For the fun stuff in August, the big thing was a weekend trip to East Tennessee to participate in the Access-Life Expo with my friends, Doug and Leanne Goddard, at Cherokee Dam in Jefferson City. I recruited some Nashville friends to join me this year, and Daniel also came to volunteer, so it was fun to be able to serve together.

My role again this year was to be a "roving" photographer and try to get some stories for the A-L blog. Daniel was on the "water and snack" team and got to ride on the back of the Gator for some of the day, delivering waters to various points. Debbie was at the Photo Booth, helping to take backdrop pictures of participants. Eric was a "buddy" and was paired with a participant and his wife for the event. Chris was a the Registration tent and greeted participants as they came through the line at the start of the day.

Here are some pics from that day:

The Access-Life Trailer that transports all the things needed for each Expo
Chris Lynch was so excited to get to come volunteer and he did a great job at Registration

The Nashville Crew:  Eric, Me, Chris and Debbie

Daniel on the back of the Gator

Eric and his "buddy" at the t-shirt tent
Debbie got to reunite with a friend from FL, Tracy, who now works for A-L

The Photo Booth Crew:  David, Debbie, Ed and Helen

Daniel and I enjoy getting to volunteer together each year

For a good laugh

I'm putting this here on my blog so that I find it when I need a laugh. It was a fun memory of when we were driving to the beach back in July and for some reason, ML decided to break out in this song. The second amazing thing is that she was willing to sing it again and let me video it!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Aunt Nette's Big Adventure

Time is flying by so quickly this summer! Case in point:  It has already been almost two weeks since I left on my big adventure to go visit my sister, brother-in-law and nieces! How can it be that I'm already home?!

I'm not going to disclose the location here, but it took me three flights and several time zones to get to where they are living. The trip started off with a big delay due to a mechanical problem on the landing gear or front tire of the plane that was to take me from Nashville to Newark. I definitely am thankful that they discovered that there was a problem before we needed to use said landing gear and tire, but the delay caused quite a bit of drama for the rest of my trip over.

But God sent people to help and by the time I landed in Paris on Sunday morning (local time), things had mostly gotten resolved and I was able to get to my final destination without an overnight layover in Paris. And then I had only one more flight and the reunion at the end was so sweet!

Once I got there and we got to the apartment, it was about time for bed, which was fine with me! I bunked in the room with the girls and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Every morning, I got to snuggle with them before we got up and started the day's activities. I even got to have the first birthday kiss from a new six-year-old! Priceless!

This was taken after we got up on her special day!
I brought two very full suitcases of things that my family needed/requested. It was fun to see their faces when they received different items. One girl was especially happy to be reunited with her Pillow Pet!

Another favorite activity was a special Aunt/Niece date to an arcade to do a little early celebrating for the soon-to-be-eight-year-old. I wasn't feeling 100%, but it was fun to watch her play and we got to take some fun photo booth pics together. Also priceless!

A big part of the joy of the trip was just getting to spend time together and for me to experience a small taste of life in their city. They took me to see the girls' school and the language school and I experienced shopping and walking and sweating!

One day we went to the beach and while it was different from beaches where we've gone together before, it was so much fun to play in the water and look for pebbles along the shore. And the views!

Thankfully, my trip home was a 180-degree difference and held very little drama. I had to wait in a long line to check in at the first airport, but after that, things went very smoothly and I arrived back in Nashville at the same gate where I had departed a week earlier.