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,



The Trip That Did Not Want to Start

Yesterday began almost a month of traveling, south, east, and west.

Might be good  better adjusted further

But it was almost like pulling teeth to get it started.  Literally.  Almost.

Sunday afternoon we were enjoying lunch with friends who will soon be moving to Texas and with our son & daughter-in-law celebrating their 1st anniversary.  Great time with great people and enjoying great food.  And then…

About half-way through the meal I felt something really bad happening in my mouth and discovered half of one of my molars was now in my hand rather than in my mouth wher it belonged.

“Well…we won’t be leaving tomorrow morning,” I announced and all heads swiveled my way.

We still had hopes of leaving after I went to the dentist, so we continued to press forward as planned.  Of course, we couldn’t pack till the laundry got finished and well, come 11:00pm, I was pretty much done and not staying up to pack a suitcase.

Monday morning arose a glorious day outside with cool temps, sun shining, and birds singing (probably the ones still in our attic).  However, inside…

Sarah wakes me up crying in pain from a bad crick in her neck, I wake up with a massive headache, I am still missing half a tooth (I’m firing the tooth fairy), and Brian is having his own issues.

But come about 8:20am things start looking up!

I can get straight into the dentist, Sarah is no longer crying in pain (just walking around slightly cock-eyed), my headache has eased by a slight fraction, and Brian seems to have resolved his issues.

Good news is announced!  My tooth does not have to be pulled!  I will need a crown, which can wait until we are back from all our traveling since the tooth is not bothering me and the old silver filling (which caused the crack in my tooth to begin with) is firmly in place.

So we head home to finish packing and loading up the car….

My headache is coming back in full force (3 ibuprofen and various essential oils are not even slightly touching this baby), Sarah is whining about stopping her show on her iPad – which she is bringing with her anyway! {insert eye roll from mom}, the dog has decided the front the door is the best place to lay down as we are trying to walk through it multiple times, and Brian tweaks his ankle while getting in the car (who knows!).

At this point, I am just laughing (which is not helping the head).  But what else do you do?!

We finally get on the road, I fall asleep, Sarah is coloring and watching her show, Brian is surfing radio channels and all is well with the world, our little world anyway.

I can say that the massive headache finally went away about mid afternoon, Sarah settled in for the 13 hour drive in true we-forget-she-is-in-the-car form, Brian ankle is back to normal, and we made it to our destination!

It took a little coaxing, but this crazy trip finally is on it’s way!

Praying for fun, safety, new experiences, and a refreshing of our souls while we are away.  (And that the kiddos left behind will remember to feed the dog…)

Living thru faith,