Friends Forever just sounds like something you write in the back of someone’s yearbook. But in this case, it’s true.
I have been friends with these girls for as long as I can remember. Though we had not all been together in the same room in the last 30 years, you wouldn’t have known it from the evening we shared. We graduated from Belfry High School in 1988 and this year will be our class reunion year.
I was thinking when I thought about writing a post on our night together that when I go to the Dr he always says, "Do you smoke" "Do you drink" as standard questions. My answer is always the same, No I don’t smoke but on occasion I do have some drinks.
Turns out last night was the occasion. Whew! Ya know that moment when you beg God to let you just live through something and swear you will never do it again, welcome to my morning.
I remember now the reason that I don’t drink.
Normally I would have a ton of photos to post but it hit me that one of the things that was so awesome about the night was that I didn’t have my phone. There wasn’t really anyone else on earth that I wanted to be talking to more than the girls there with me. That doesn’t happen very often. That and the fact that everyone agreed to no facebook photos about five minutes after we got there made it easy to put my phone away.
I don’t have a memory in my life of my childhood that doesn’t include Beckie. Her mother was like my own. She would wear me out if I needed it, talk to me like I was hers and if I fell into a ditch and nearly drowned she would always be right there to save me.
Beckie was my closest friend from the time I was in Kindergarten until forever. I have hated her and loved her and most of the memories of my life would suck if she had not been a constant that could always be counted on.
Amanda came along a few years later. To be honest, I was scared to death of her when I first met her.
She is tough. But she grew on me immediately and I can not remember my life without her in it. Beckie, Amanda and I cheered in grade school together and between the two of them, and Chris Moon, I swear I can’t single out a memory that they are not part of.
My brother dated Angie and by the time I was in 7th or 8th grade she had become my sister and would become my sister-in-law and mother to my two beautiful nieces. I have a dozen Christmas ornaments that are precious to me and they are all ones that came from her over the years and I cherish them. She was beautiful and sweet and had this laugh that seriously burst from her lungs like a bullet from a gun and I can’t say the word Angie without hearing that laughter over the 48 years of my life.
Anna came in later in high school. She was this amazingly strong and hard person. At the time, I didn’t have a clue just what a survivor she really was. I was young and just like my 12-year-old son today, I had my head so far up my own butt I dint know just how much she needed me and Amanda and Beckie and Angie. I admit that my heart hurts a little now looking back that the world treated her so badly at such a young age. Her brother Mike died of AIDS and it was one of the first cases of AIDS that anyone here had ever seen so close up. It was 1987. But when I was dancing with her tonight and cracking up, I swear to you all I could think to myself was that the things that she endured, the hate, the death, the loss of her brother, just all of the things that a kid shouldn’t have to suffer, sucked but they made her the person she is today and she really is a great person. Mostly, I was just thankful that she had been added to my life and that we had so many memories together. I was also thinking that she had some awesome dance moves. LOL
I guess the thing that makes us work still today when we are all together is that you can pair up any two of us and we still work. We are all friends and we can work as a team or one on one and do anything we set our minds to. We are grown, strong, independent women but the second you reunited us we became 16-year-old girls again. For one single night, there were no kids, bills or responsibilities, just 5 five girls laughing. And dancing 😉
I am not one of those people that spends much time with friends. I love to be home and I love to be with Bill. It was effort for me to even go to be honest. But I woke up today, sick to my stomach but alive, and all I could think was how much I loved my memories with these four girls.
In life we are doing good if we just have one person who we look back and think how blessed we are to have them. If we have one friend that we know would come to us and save us if we needed them. We are lucky if we get one single person who we can say has always been a part of our lives.
But I got four. I love you girls. Lets not wait 30 more years to reunite. I am just sure I will not be able to dance like that again next time if we do.
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I love it when I feel creative. But it is extra fun when someone commissions you to create what they want, what they have in their head and you have to find a way to get it out of their brain, into yours and then into the real world. That’s what happened with the Alma Digital Planner. A customer contacted me to ask if another item that I had previously created could come in pink. Then the fun started. These digital planners are created to be used in the GoodNotes app on the Apple iPad. Some people do use them in Android devices but I don’t know a thing about that so I am not a good person to even ask if everything works as it should inside Android. When I make them, they are headed from my head to an Apple iPad device. This is the original design that I created and then this is the new one in pink that I made for my Etsy customer. Are they not absolutely adorable !? I am shocked by how expensive most digital planners are. I do know that it takes forever to create them. But I also think that an app on an iPad should never cost 25.00 ! All my digital items top out at 9.99 and hopefully over time those lower costs will catch on and people will start to realize what a great buy that is for the amazing digital products I create. I hope you will go over to my Etsy shop and give my digital products a try. But if you click on the contact button on this website and send me a message letting me know that you read this post, I will send you a sample digital iPad planner item for FREE. Please like, subscribe, share, follow, Help spread the word about this site and help me grow my new business. WendyAbout this event
I am so excited to share my newest item in my Etsy shop. They turned out even cuter than they were in my brain late last night. I spent half the night and all of today getting them out of my head and onto the iPad. How cute are they ! I made two different versions so far. There are about four more half started so I could get the idea out of my brain. Those will be coming soon to the Etsy shop. Hope you enjoy them. They are perfect for little things you want to keep track of, out of your regular planner. Diet and Exercise, Brain Dumps, Names and Addresses that keep getting lost in the clutter of everything else, just anything you want to keep up with in a cute little way, out of your regular planner. This is the way to go. Only $9.99 in my Etsy shop.About this event
My husband and I have a bucket list. We pretty much sit around on our day jobs and do the things that are required of us, but secretly in our minds we are always thinking about where we will go next. Once we decided that we were going to just go straight to the top of the bucket list and clear off China (the number one must do thing on our list) it became a rush to the airport for us. That’s pretty much how most of our trips happen. One minute we are dreaming and the next we are booking tickets. I admit that this one has taken me a little by surprise in the budgeting. At this moment, I am about $1500.00 over budget on what I thought it was going to cost. One of the things I most tell people when they ask me about trip planning is to allow a markup for the things you don’t know. Something like 20-25% usually will cover it for us. This trip has, however, exceeded that for sure. I suppose, it probably speaks to my inexperience that I didn’t budget in for the cost of a visa to either China or Cambodia. Within a week of our purchasing our tickets we realized we needed to get our butts in gear fast to round those up. We used a company called Travisa for getting the Visa in China. We live in West Virginia so the nearest offices for the visa would be Washington, DC. I considered driving there myself, 6 hours one way, but in the end, did the math and determined that my lack of experience with the process could result in my having to drive there, do it wrong, drive home and then pay the company to do it. So I bucked up and ordered the kit and sent our passports to them the next day. The way it works is fairly simple. Pay them the fees, print and fill out all the papers that they send you, sign everything and put all the required documents with the forms and your passports (good for at least six months past the date of travel) and drop it into the Fed-ex box and wait. The wait was only 24 hours before our first communications came back. The company does a fantastic job keeping you updated on where you are in the process. Today the lady informed me that our bill was ready and the visa should be ready by next week and once payment was cleared they would ship our visa and passport back to us by overnight delivery and we should be ready to go. (Did I mention the wait part?) In stark contrast to that, the Cambodian visas were a much simpler process. I used this website and filled out the paperwork online and provided everything, including a digital version of our passport photo for the visa and paid the fees associated. Within an hour, I had both mine and my husbands visas applied for and within 10 hours I had both of them printed and in my hand ready to go. You can apply for a Cambodian Visa at the airport when you land in the country but because neither my husband or I understand the language we try to take care of everything that we can in advance of a trip to a country that will be hard to communicate in. The visa for China has not been approved yet but hopefully we will have it in hand this time next week and I can go back to sleeping at night instead of refreshing the page just in case they send me an email for any more information that I haven’t already provided. When you apply for a visa for China you need to provide quite a bit of information. I was actually pretty impressed with their system and how much information they required for a tourist to visit the country. A US Passport that is good for at least 6 months longer than your trip dates. I imagine always that is because if heaven forbid something happens and you get sick and stuck in their country or some other unforeseen set of circumstances should happen that you didn’t get home on time you would still have a passport that was valid when it was time to come home. Yikes, lets don’t think about that. A list of every single place that you will go, sleep and be during the trip. You provide these and they literally register you with the US Embassy in the places you will visit so that you are accounted for while in the other country with both the other country and with the American government. This makes me feel safe in several ways. A copy of your flights, tickets and hotel reservations, etc. A letter of invitation from the person who has asked you to stay with them or visit them and all sorts of information on that person are visiting them, if that is the case. I didn’t have to do this because of course, I don’t know anyone in China. They ask about your history, family to contact in emergencies and all the normal stuff that you would expect as well. Several questions asked what your plans were and why you wanted to visit China. That was not…About this event
Over the last couple years we have been blessed to get to travel. I have seen so many amazing things, I can’t even count. But the list of things that we still want to see is far longer than the list of ones we have already enjoyed. The Great Wall of China is always at the top of a bucket list. So we have decided to take one last trip this year to mark that one off while we are still able. I know, it sounds like I think I wont have enough time to see everything. My 13 year old son said “Mom, are you sure that you don’t have cancer or something that you are not telling me” when I told him that we were going to China. I don’t feel like I am in a hurry. But I do feel like when I leave this world I am going to not have gotten to see all the amazing things that I want to see. The truth is, so many of my friends and family say to me, YOU ARE CRAZY FOR GOING THERE when I am planning trips. Or, I AM NEVER GOING THERE, is pretty common as well. I was around 45 when I started traveling with my husband and I cant tell you how much the experiences have changed my every day life. When I eat, I have a new found appreciation for all the many choices that I have in America. When I drive my car, I find myself praying while driving, thanking God for the opportunities that I have had and the freedom to go where I wish, when I wish. Every aspect of my life has been altered by the time and sights I have seen while traveling. And Bill likes to say that good travel makes you want good travel. I have a sign in my bedroom that says, Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer. That’s so true. We can hardly wait for our November trip to China. I have been hard at the planning stage and almost have it entirely figured out. When I first started traveling I remember how scared I was. I still have moments that I have fears. But the rewards always out weight the stress or worry. Sometimes, we get lost. Sometimes, we can’t understand what people are saying. Sometimes, I even cry. But it is ALWAYS worth it for the experience. Our list of thing to see in China: The Great Wall Beijing City The Forbidden City The Temple of Heaven Tiananmen Square The Avatar Mountains Tianzi Mountain Cable Car Fenghuang City Hauihua & Changsha Guilin and the Li River Angkor Wat in Cambodia The current bucket list items is as follows: The Great Wall of China Angkor Wat, Cambodia Machu Picchu in Peru The Taj Mahal in Agra, India Petra in Jordan The Red Sea The Leaning Tower of Pisa The old city of Jerusalem & places where Jesus lived Berlin and the Berlin Wall Run with the Bulls in Spain Go to the Cannes Film Festival in France See the city of Naples and visit Mt Vesuvius The City of Pompeii Visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy Sicily Cinque Terre Point Go to Ireland See Edinburgh Visit the Krampus Parade in Austria La Biennale di Venezia Arsenale in Venice, Italy Visit Seville Spain and Semana Santa: Bellavista Visit the Day of the Dead in Mexico City Morocco Switzerland Galapagos Islands Hermitage Museum The Haag Museum Stay in an Ice Hotel Prague Warsaw Madagascar Dubai Go on Safari in Africa Brussels Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro (And a visit during the time of the Carnival Festival) A few things we hope to see eventually: Channel Tunnel, Strait of Dover CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario Canada Golden Gate Bridge in California Panama Canal Washington State & Mount Rushmore Victoria Falls Mount Everest The Great Barrier Reef in Austrailia The South Pole The Amazon Rainforest Some of the other amazing things we have already seen: The Roman Colosseum Stonehenge The location of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia The Pyramids of Giza & The Great Sphinx The Belize Barrier Reef Hoover Dam The Grand Canyon Paris London Egypt Milan & The Last Supper Florence Split in Croatia Amsterdam Dubrovnik Olympia and the first Olympic Stadium Greece Athens, The Acropolis Carnevale Venice Istanbul Bath, England Belize Cayman Islands Jamaica Dominican Republic Turks and Caicos San Juan Puerto Rico St Croix St John Cockburn Town Key West Florida Nassau The Bahamas Cozomel Cancun Mexico A few things out west we want to visit: Yellowstone National Park Mount Rushmore Redwood National Park Antelope Canyon Burning Man Festival Petrified Forest South Rim of the Grand Canyon Hoover Dam (Again) Lower Antelope Canyon Bryce Canyon I think everyone has a bucket list, right ? Ours keeps growing. We see new things in books and movies and before you know it the list needs revisions. I hope when my life is over there will be many more things that I clear from this list. But if I have to leave this life sooner than expected, I am so grateful for each and every single thing that I have already gotten to see.About this event
My husband is a talented writer. He writes kids books, adult only scary books with somewhat of a twisted view of things, comics, graphic novels and sweet poems and so much more. I am always amazed at the things he writes. He really doesn’t have a specific type of writing. He can write something about a sweet lover one minute and a zombie eating his children the next. I love to watch him create. Check out his work at www.BilRichardson.com.About this event
Belfry Middle School Football 🏈 🏈 🏈 I’m old. But these coaches are not spring chickens. They are grown men with kids, lives, jobs and families of their own and it is no easy task for them to raise one good boy. But they are raising 40 of them. They influence their lives and what they will become as much as their parents do and sometimes, more. Certainly, they deserve our gratitude for all they do for our boys. Today I watched a ballgame. That doesn’t sound special maybe to those of you who watch ballgames on a regular basis but to me it was nearly a religious experience. I started the morning off following the bus. My first time ever following a school bus filled with middle school football players. 40 boys, one that was my own and 39 that I pretty much didn’t know. Dear God, please wrap your hands about this bus and take it safe to its destination and touch the bodies of each and every precious player on board. Please bring them all home safe to their beds tonight…. I prayed while I drove along the way. My son is 13 and he is starting at a new school this year. It will be his first public school experience in 6 years. I am nervous for him. He doesn’t know any of the other kids at the new school and he really doesn’t know what to expect. So, when he said he wanted to play football this year I was shocked and figured that he would try it but quit because it would be exceptionally hard. I was correct about the hard part. I didn’t realize the amount of laundry that would come with playing football. I didn’t realize the amount of my own personal time that would be consumed with practice. I didn’t realize how stressful it would be to watch him play and worry over his physical ability to endure all that it would require from him. I didn’t realize how many ice packs and heating pads and soaks in bath salts it would require to help him to adjust to the practices and games. I certainly didn’t realize how impressed I was going to be with him and the other boys and most especially, with the coaches. I was sitting in the stands today and I noticed that a few moms from an opposing team where running along the side of the field where the team stands, and they screamed into the game and bossed their kids on every play. I was mortified for their kids. Our coach had just sat down for a moment of rest between the games and he was beside me when I leaned over and asked if it would be okay for our moms to start huddling in and coaching from the sideline. I knew what his answer would be, but I giggled as I asked and listened to his answer. Everything is harder when you are 13. Everything is more dramatic, more embarrassing and more humiliating. I am absolutely certain that to my son it feels as if he is an outsider and that he doesn’t have a friend in the world at the moment, so I thought letting him be on the football team would help him to assimilate a bit easier into his new school and life. I was thinking today while driving behind the bus about how hard this has been for my son and feeling so proud of him for tackling this adventure head on. The entire thing has been horribly hard on him physically. He is mine, but I have to say, he’s a good kid and in spite of the fact that he can hardly climb the steps in our house he has been in so much pain, he gets up and puts his uniform on and goes back to practice every day. I sat on the bleachers in the heat today for about 5 hours and I drank ten bottles of water while there. I felt so hot and overwhelmed by the heat that I wanted to bend over and vomit once or twice. I couldn’t bring myself to complain because I knew that whatever I was feeling, those 40 boys had to be feeling it much more in their uniforms while running in the game. I ask myself daily, why do they continue to do this? Why don’t they quit? But I think I figured out the answer. On the second day of my sons practices he was struggling so hard and was literally vomiting he felt so physically drained. He was pushing as hard as he could, but he just felt so sick that he didn’t think he could go on. I saw him walk over to the coach and say he just couldn’t do it and quit. He started to walk off the field toward the locker room and I admittedly felt some relief at that moment. As he got to the center of the field I saw Coach Oliver grab him and say Where are you going? My sons motions from across the field translated in my mind as him saying I am so sick and I just can not run one more step. I quit. I sat there with my eyes stuck to the situation like they had been gorilla glued to the back of my…About this event
Hatfield McCoy Country is an area that covers about 50 miles square but if you drive to each of the locations as I have them listed here you will travel many more miles than this. I have tried to give you the most direct route for seeing everything without any more backtracking than is necessary. So, it’s a very long journey for a single day. In a perfect world you can do it all in a weekend visit. Come in on Friday and stay in one of the main towns. Pikeville Kentucky Matewan West Virginia Williamson West Virginia Each of these three towns will offer its own kind of charm. You can click on each of them above to get more information on starting your journey from a hotel in the individual communities. I have built THIS MAP to begin at the Hatfield McCoy Country Museum in Williamson West Virginia #1 on the maps. After visiting the Museum you can start your journey at #1, The Hatfield McCoy Country Museum, and move along the numbered locations as I have them and you can see everything in the simplest route possible with the least amount of going in circles. You can click HERE to go to the information page for the Hatfield McCoy Feud. There you will find all the detailed information about the feud, my family connection and the Hatfield McCoy Country Museum. On this page I am going to try to give you a complete visitors guide to the sites of the Hatfield McCoy Feud. COMPLETE VISITORS GUIDE | HATFIELD MCCOY FEUD SITES | HATFIELD MCCOY COUNTRY MUSEUM | STOP #1 This location is first because any tour of the feud sites must begin with a little information about the history of this historic family feud. You can visit the museum by contacting the museum directly or contacting me here at this site to set up your appointment. For the majority of the year, right now, you will need an appointment to visit the museum. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Things to see on this stop. A replica 1920’s coal camp house room The Underground Theater Items seen on American Pickers Original documents from the Hatfield McCoy Feud. A replica log cabin standing inside the museum containing historical documents that you can walk inside and explore. Items touched by Devil Anse Hatfield Henry Ford’s script making machine Burial records of Devil Anse, Johnse, Cap and Levicy Hatfield Mamie Thurman’s death certificate and burial records A set of display panels with information about the industrial revolution and how this area and our coal mining fueled the growth of steel. The Bee Ward coal mining collection MUCH MORE Turn by Turn Directions from The Hatfield McCoy Country Museum #1 to The Hatfield McCoy White Lightning Moonshine Distillery Building #2. You can click on the image of the map to open the Google Maps for the Complete Visitors Guide and directions to navigate to the next site. I have built the map already and all you have to do is open from the map photos on this page and it will take you to where you currently are to the location you want to go next. COMPLETE VISITORS GUIDE | HATFIELD MCCOY FEUD SITES | THE WHITE LIGHTNING DISTILLERY BUILDING | STOP #2 This spot is sad a little since it was so filled with excitement and hope when it originally became famous. The building was the distillery for the Hatfield McCoy White Lighting television show. The Hatfield and McCoy families came together in 2012 to start a moonshine business and create the first of the Hatfield McCoy Moonshines. However, the two families proved to not be able to work together a hundred years after the feud and the business broke apart and ended in law suits and the television series cancelled after the first season. The building still stands and you can get great photos from the exterior of the structure and even peek inside the large plate glass window on the front that lets you see into the distillery. This is worth driving by and stopping for a quick photo outside. You can get more information on the moonshine from both the Hatfields and the McCoys that came after this series and see more about the show HERE. Things to see on this stop. The facade of the Hatfield McCoy White Lighting Moonshine Distillery where the reality TV show was filmed by the History Channel. The geocache at this location This stop is no more than a drive by between the museum and The Coal House for a photo stop so no real time is added by visiting the location THE GEOCACHE AT THIS LOCATION GC4KNV9 ▼ HMGT #16 White Lightning A cache by HMGT Message this owner Hidden : 08/30/2013 Difficulty: Terrain: Size: (regular) 59 Favorites Related Web Page N 37° 40.524 W 082° 16.730 UTM: 17S E 387226 N 4170570 GEOCACHING IS A SCAVENGER HUNT GAME THAT IS PLAYED USING A GPS OR YOUR SMART PHONE. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN PLAY AT THE GEOCACHING TAB ON THIS SITE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE. Turn by Turn Directions from #2 The Distillery Building to #3 The Coal House You can click on the image of the map to open the Google Maps for the Complete Visitors Guide and directions to navigate to the next site. I have built the map already and…About this event
FREE. That’s right, You can print these pages for your own personal use, Absolutely FREE. I have recently discovered BULLET JOURNALING. I have been a SCRAPBOOKER for many years and designed and developed several scrapbook products for the scrapbook industry that are still very useful in making your scrapbook pages. But recently, I began to use those same products for my new passion…Bullet Journaling. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here. Now, before you start to tell me about how busy moms don’t have time to bullet journal or color pages in a day planner, just wait. In my mind, a busy woman doesn’t have time to NOT plan every single day. Read the Post for the FREE Bullet Journal Downloads Below. Subscribe | Follow These 3 Templates Rock and I designed them 🙂 You can search about on this site and find lots more information on these three templates. I designed them with Hot Off the Press and I use them constantly on my scrapbook pages and in Bullet Journals. Check them out on my scrapbook tab. Here’s my thinking, if you want to make the most out of your life each day, you need to plan for tomorrow. When I was a young girl my mother-in-law had a sister that was an older lady and she was truly uptight it seemed to me at the time. What kind of life does a person have that they get up every single Tuesday and know what they are doing that day. How can you plan for a car wash, a hair-do or a walk with friends? Now as a grown woman with a husband, a home, a 13-year-old and tons of responsibilities I see that there’s no way I could accomplish all the things that are important to me if I don’t schedule them in. You make time for the things that matter in your life. I also think that a person can leave a journal to the next generation that will be an amazing look into what it was like to be you. I would give a 1000 dollar for my mom’s journal of what her life was like in a normal day when she was raising three kids. But those memories are gone and can never be recovered. I want to leave those things behind for my child and grandchildren to see when I am gone. So, I journal and scrapbook. I do agree that I don’t have time to set down with a pen and markers and create an entire layout from scratch every week of my life when it’s time to schedule. So, I am a fan of PRINTABLES. Especially ones that are FREE. That’s why I am sharing these pages with you. If you want to get started with a day planner or bullet journal book you can just simply print these pages, punch holes in them and add them to a binder that you keep. Then you can select just the pages that work for your life. Soon I will also be adding an entire LIFE BINDER that will have tons of FREE pages that you can use to organize every aspect of your life. TRY BULLET JOURNALING FOR FREE !!!! If you have always wanted to give journaling a try, now is the perfect time. Just click on the FREE BULLET JOURNAL Pages listed below by name and print them at home and start without paying anything at all. (Other than the couple of pennies it costs to print a piece of paper) You can find tons of different types of planners out there on the internet. But inevitably some of the pages don’t apply to your life. By printing your own selected pages you can custom build your planner to your specific needs. Planning a Vacation ? Planning a special event ? Need a gratitude journal ? A meditation journal ? A way to track your exercise progress ? You can find all those here over the next couple weeks. Just subscribe to this page and get updates as I post the entire collection. This washi tape is awesome if you make a mistake on your day planner, bullet journal or scrapbook page. It is sticky like tape and you can snip off a piece and put it over any mistake easily or use it to mark special days. Looks great and does the trick nicely. My Favorite Washi Tapes Washi Tape Selection on Amazon WHAT IS A BULLET JOURNAL ANYWAY ? I personally think that the words “Bullet Journal” are just a fancy way of saying day planner. But I understand calling it something new because it is the exact same thing, only far different at the same time. In a typical day planner you don’t do much on the way of decorating but in the new Bullet Journal pages it is not just about planning your day. Its about planning, listing, setting goals, tracking your success and sometimes even your failures. Its about doodling to relieve anxiety and stress. Its about having a singular place that you keep track of not just what you have to do, but the feelings that go along with doing them. Or, if you have a particularly busy day and don’t want to do anything creative, that reflects…About this event