Garden Art

Sarah’s favorite part of our Biltmore visit were the gardens.  She really loved the blown glass art that was on display within the gardens as well.  (These glass art creations will be on display until October 7, in case you want to see them in person.)

garden above

The gardens were designed by landscape architect Fredrick Olmstead who also designed New York City’s Central Park.  They are beautiful on their own, but the glass art by Chihuly added a bit of whimsy.

garden boat2garden water sarah

Sarah was also fascinated, of course, by the fish living in the ponds. I think she spent more time watching them, than looking at the glass sculptures.




There is also a conservatory on site filled with plants thriving throughout all the seasons.

garden3Sarah and Dad

We are so glad we had the opportunity to share this time and this place with Sarah.  It was a wonderful educational experience for her in seeing a glimpse to a long ago era, but it was also a time of just enjoying being together.  Our little girl is growing up and won’t be staying so little much longer.

Sarah tree

We also had few friendly friends come to say goodbye on our way out of the estate.


We are now in the midst of our next adventure out West that has been filled with new experiences and lots of fun with old friends.  Until next time…

If you would like to see more about Chihuly and how they set up the displays at Biltmore, check out this video here.

Living thru faith,



One Great Big House

There is a great big house nestled in the hills of North Carolina and we spent a day walking all around it.  And walking.  And walking…


The Biltmore was completed in 1895 and was an amazing display of architecture, innovation, and forestry.  With over 4 acres of floor space,  I was afraid we would get all the way to the top floor and then she would start giving out, but she just kept going and going.  Brian and I were actually done in before she was.

mom and sarah

We rented the kids audio player for her and let her tell us the information she found interesting along the way.  The kids audio is narrated by Cedric, the family St. Bernard, so it makes it entertaining and educational for the young explorers.  Sarah loved it, so I definitely recommend renting it if you take your kiddos.

Cedric let us in on the trap door in the floor of the Winter Garden that leads down to the basement and informed us the banquet table was longer than a school bus.  He also said that you would have to stack four 17′ giraffes on top of each of other to reach the ceiling in the main dining hall. There is an organ in the main dining hall and at one point during our tour someone began playing it.  It sounded amazing!


We discovered later that the music room actually wasn’t finished until the 1970’s and was used to store art from the National Gallery of Art during WWII.  The art was sent by train at night during a snow storm in an effort to protect it in the event of an attack on Washington.  The house was already open to the public at the time and people walked past the curtains never knowing a priceless amount of art was hiding right in their midst.


Brian’s favorite room, of course, was the library.  There are about 10,000 books in the library and over 22,000 total in George Vanderbilt’s entire collection!  Brian told me I now can’t complain about the number of books he has.  Oh, but I can!  🙂  The ceiling is made up of 13 different canvases sent over from Italy.  I just can’t imagine spending all that money on a ceiling!

tapestry room

Cedric also shared that each of the tapestries in the Tapestry room took 10 years to complete! I really don’t have that much patience for work like that.  Each tapestry told different Bible stories such as Daniel & the Lions Den and David & Goliath.

George and Edith Vanderbilt had his and her bedrooms, which Sarah found very odd.  I tried to explain that this was actually normal for this time period, but it was just too different of a concept for her.

stairs top

As gorgeous as the spiral staircase was, Sarah was not a fan of walking down them.  She really didn’t like the spacing and size of the stairs.  Eventually, we made it to the bottom and headed on down to the basement where we found a Halloween Room, a bowling alley, swimming pool, servants rooms, kitchens, walk in refrigerator rooms, and laundry room.  The Halloween Room was simply a large room with walls painted with scenes from a popular play during the time their daughter Cornelia was a teenager.  We are not sure what the room was used for, but Cedric said that Cornelia and about 100 other teens painted the murals.

Not only was there an indoor swimming pool, but it was also heated!  The black hose laying along the side of the pool bottom was not for water, but for steam!



That there is Sarah listening to Cedric telling all the secrets of the main kitchen.  Bet you didn’t know those big black cabinets in the main kitchen are actually mouse proof!

A special exhibit of blown glass art was integrated throughout the large surrounding gardens, so I will share all of those pictures with you next time.  I wish there was an option to just visit the gardens, because I would love to go back to spend more time there.  By the time we toured the house, I was pretty much exhausted and not able to enjoy the beauty of them as much as I could have.

garden above


I asked Sarah what was her favorite part and was surprised when she said the gardens.  When I asked about her favorite part of the house she said the Winter Garden and the Main Kitchen.  Of all the sites we saw, I was not expecting that.  With all the beautiful, ornate, and expensive things within the house, I found it encouraging that she was not overly impressed with the grandeur.

As I thought about her response, I was reminded of this verse.  So many times we get caught up in material things and how they may sparkle or shine, but true beauty comes from within.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

I Peter 3:3-4

Living thru faith,





Taking the Back Roads

Sunday was a travel day as we left Louisiana behind and headed for the mountains of North Carolina.

The first part of that long drive is through the Delta of northeast Louisiana.  If you’ve never driven the Delta, well, you really haven’t missed much.  It’s flat.  I mean it’s really flat.  The only excitement is the rows and rows of cotton or soybean and the bear crossing signs.  Never actually seen a bear.  That would be exciting!

{Sidenote… there are some amazing “ancient” Indian Mounds off of I-20 that would be a great stop on your way.  We have been wanting to take Sarah, but we just haven’t been able to work out the timing.}

Going through Chattanooga we got a taste of the beautiful mountain ranges to come and we decided we wanted to see something more than the interstate.  So we ventured off through the Cherokee & Nantahala National Forests.   It was a beautiful drive! We got to see parts of Tennessee and North Carolina that we had never seen before.


Sarah was in awe of the white rapids all along the Ocoee River.  We stopped at a dam and heard the great power of all this rushing water.  We also had a mini-history lesson at a rest stop along the Trail of Tears and she even got to run around catching fireflies.

I would have preferred to have gotten out of the forest before dark, but I wouldn’t have wanted to skip all the sites along the way.

I’m realizing life is a lot like a long day of travel.  Sometimes you have to get off and take the back roads.  If not, you just might miss something beautiful.

Living thru faith,



Louisiana Memories

Well, the first part of our June travels is coming to a close.  We have been blessed to spend time with family and friends while in Louisiana, even with a little bit of work thrown in the mix.

Sarah has gotten to spend a little time with her cousins


and her cousin’s rabbit (a blue bunny named, you guessed it… Blue).


Sarah and I have tried our hand at origami.   We managed two simple project, but let’s just say, we won’t be taking up that as a full time hobby.

I was blessed to spend some time with friends laughing, catching up and reminiscing.  We managed to not get into too much trouble together this time; however, one of the four musketeers was missing so I can’t promise about next year!


And we were able to enjoy lunch with my grandmother.  Raising Cane’s is becoming a delicious tradition along with vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup (out of a can, not a bottle) and a sprinkle of nuts.  Ice cream sundaes have always been on the menu at Nan’s since I was a little girl! 🙂

Sarah loves her Nan and always loves going to see her and tell her all about what she has been up to since our last visit.


The news from home appears to be good.  The kids are holding down the fort and the dog seems to be getting fed. (Although a text asking how much to feed the dog 6 hours after he is usually fed, is a bit concerning.)

Sunday we travel to North Carolina.  We plan to take Sarah to The Biltmore on Monday.  I can’t wait to watch her face as we explore all there is to see there.

Until the next stop….

Living thru faith,



Refresh Button

Ok, show of hands.  How many of us need a Refresh Button?

Yep, got both of mine raised up high!

One of my desires for all of our traveling is to come back feeling refreshed of mind, body, and soul.  I know I will be tired by the end of it all, but there is a difference between being tired and being plain weary.  Right now I am just plain tired of being weary!

Life has been moving non-stop and, while filled with many good things, priorities have gotten out of whack and over time that has led to a weariness in my spirit.

I need a Refresh Button.

Our pastor preached from Acts 3:11-26 this past Sunday, but my soul hung onto just a part of verse 19.

“…that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”

True refreshing of the spirit can only come from one place and the way to receive that refreshing comes in only one way.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”

I have allowed the craziness of life to come before my time with the Lord.  I have allowed my priorities to get out of whack.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, Lord, take it and seal it.  Seal it for thy throne above.

(from the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

I am now in need of that refreshing of my soul and can only receive that by turning back to the One from whom that refreshing comes.

The Lord is my refresh button.

Living thru faith,