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In the beginning of January, I mentioned in this post that I was looking forward to doing some volunteering this year with Hands on Charlotte. Well, this past Monday was my first official volunteer effort and it was a huge success. I signed up for an opportunity called Pet Visits in which well bahaved dogs and their owners make a trip to a nursing home to visit with the residents. I was somewhat nervous about taking Bog because although he is well bahaved 99% of the time, he tends to act out at the vet sometimes. With a similar tile floor, white walls, and sterile vibe as the vet, I was worried the nursing home might put him in the same place. But, I figured it was worth a shot. So, I headed over Monday night with Bog and a pocket full of treats in hopes to get the best out of him. He of course was just excited for a car ride. Oh, the simple mind of a canine.

When we arrived, there were a few other dogs and owners waiting in the lobby. A black lab named Finley, a golden retriever named Jordan, a poodle mix named Lucy, and a recue mutt named Lucky. Bog was definitely the smallest of the bunch. After getting aquanted with everyone, we went over the general guidelines. We would walk through the halls, knock on open doors and politely ask “Do you like dogs?” If they seemed interested, we would bring the dogs in one at a time to be pet and make small talk and then move on. Simple enough.

Lucky, the veteran of the group, led the way and we all paraded down the hall. The first few rooms were dog lovers and we were able to bring huge smiles to their faces. A few of them wanted to tell us about their dogs they used to have and asked if they could keep ours. The big dogs always got the same reaction, but then when I would bring Bog over, it was always some sort of “oh look at his wrinkles!”, “oh he’s so pudgy”, “oh that curly tail is so cute”, or my favorite “where is his nose?”. He was always greeted with a smile simply for the fact that he has that so-ugly-hes-cute thing going on.

And Bog LOVED it. The attention was like Christmas morning to him. He loved getting in the beds with a few of the residents and greeting those in wheelchairs. He would let them pet him and he would just wag that tail letting them know he was so happy to be there in that moment with them. They frequently called him a bull dog and a few even said they remembered him from last time. I just smiled and would agree knowing this was his grand debut at White Oak Manor and agreed to bring him back to see everyone again soon.

As we went from room to room, Bog would stay close and sit down right next to me as we waited for the other dogs to make their visits. It was like he just knew what to do. The nurses fawned over him and would ask if he snored at night. They all got a big kick out of him and he loved the attention of course. Not once did he jump up on anyone or act scared. It was like he knew he had a job to do and he did it. All the other dog owners couldn’t get over how well behaved he was and didn’t try to stray away like their dogs. He just knew to be calm and patient as we made our way through the building.

After about an hour and a half of visits, we all went our seperate ways and Bog finally got his reward treats in the car on the way home. I was so proud of him. I told a friend the next day that it almost felt like being the parent of the kid that won the spelling bee. He was a natural. And I’m proud to report we have already made plans to visit another area nursing home at the end of February. I’m hoping to make this a regular volunteer effort that we can help with. I got so much out of it and I dare say he did as well.

I didn’t take any photos at the home out of respect of the resident’s privacy. But I did Instagram this little gem of my sleepy boy on the back of the couch resting on my shoulder once we got home. Yes, he is really this sweet all the time. I’m one lucky dog owner. Ok, I’m done bragging now. Do you have any moments your animals have you bragging about them about? Please let me know I’m not alone in this.

sleepy bo

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Well it’s that time of year where we begin our detox from the holidays, take a few moments to reflect on the year, and look forward to what is to come.

In a world of peaks and valleys, 2012 was a bit of a valley for me. But, the valleys are what make the peaks so great, right? 2012 was a year of learning hard lessons. It was a year of going through some tough spots put in my path to make me stronger. It was a year of sorting out relationships and learning some things about myself. So, as 2012 ends, I may have a bitter taste when it comes to the learning curve I found myself in, but I am hopeful. Hopeful that 2013 will be a peak.

I have the usual New Years Resolutions that everyone starts off with. Become healthier for one. I’ve already been on this train for a while but it’s time to kick it up a notch. Running and I WILL become friends again if its the last thing I do. The gym at my new apartment complex will be a huge help in this department. If only I wasn’t a first class snooze-hitter. Enter Resolution #2: Learn not to hit snooze.

I also feel like it’s time to start crossing off some items from my life list again. I haven’t exactly crossed anything of significance off in a while. I’m actually ahead of the game and already have a plan for one of them. In particular, volunteering my time for a year. Back in November, I decided to go ahead and look into some oportunities in my community to help out with and I came across Hands on Charlotte. I signed up and actually just finished my orientation hours just a few weeks ago. So, I’m set. I’ve got the t-shirt to prove it. The opportunity I am most excited to try is called Pet Visits. It involves getting to take Bogart to a nursing home to visit the elderly twice a month. No training required for this one, just a sweet dog that minds well. So, I thought Bogart fits that description just fine. He’ll get to go visit with residents who probably had pets themselves and miss having a dog around. I think it’s going to be a great chance to help out and bring some smiles to some faces. There are all sorts of other opportunities I’m going to dive into as well like helping with some Bingo Nights and some building projects around the city. I’ll keep you posted and if you are in Charlotte, I strongly encourage you to help out as well!

I’m also going to do more cooking and also try to do more reading. I feel like I say those every year and probably do. But it’s good to throw them out there.

So, as 2012 ends, I hope you are ready for 2013 as well. Was it a peak or a valley year for you?

Today, I became an American Red Cross Blood Donor. I joined thousands accross the country in giving an hour of my day and a bag of my blood to help others in need. And I must admit, it feels good to feel like my small donation will help someone in need.

I’ve wanted to give blood since I was in high school. But due to my mission trips to Haiti, was not elligible. Once you’ve gone to a 3rd world country like Haiti, you are not elligible to give blood for 5 years. This may have changed by now, I honestly amd not sure. But anywho, since I haven’t been in over 6 years, I felt it was time to give back by donating.

I strongly urge EVERYONE to give blood if you can. Only 3 out of 100 people donate blood on a regular basis in the US and I think that number is ENTIRELY too low. Something I didn’t know about blood is that not only are there certian types (A, B, O, etc.) but it can break down to even more specific types than that and you never know when your blood could be an EXACT match for someone who needs it.

For example, they told me today at the clinic that there is a lady that lives in Charlotte who gives blood every 2 weeks. She has a certain O- blood type that breaks down specifically into a category that matches a man in Texas who has Leukemia and needs blood transfusions weekly. She is the only one in all of the Red Cross Database who has this special type and her blood is basically keeping him alive. Isn’t that amazing?!?!

So, you never know. The way I see it, God created our bodies to reproduce blood so why not use that ability to help others. It’s a small way of helping but it is so rewarding to know that others in need are thankful for your small part.

Plus you get this really cool sticker…

Making an appointment is VERY easy these days. Got to www.givelife.org and type in your zip code. They will give you the locations nearest to you and even let you make an appointment online. You need to be at least 17 years old, weight 110 lbs., and in good health to be eligible to donate. It’s that simple!

Happy Friday Everyone! 🙂

Since today is the last day of 2008, I feel like I should take a second and remember all the things that happened to me this year. Some were great and some were not so great. But over all, it has been an intersting year.

This year, we celebrated 20 years of my dad’s ministry and I got to be a part of the celebration of all the wonderful things he does. I also got to be a part of his 50th birthday this year. I got to see one of my dearest and oldest friends tie the knot with her high school sweetheart. I got to go skiing with 2 of my best friends up in the mountains of North Carolina. I got to make a surprise trip home and give a short and sweet speach about my Mom on Mothers Day. I got to see my little sister graduate from college. I celebrated one year at my job (yay!). I went on an AMAZING vacation with 4 of the most wonderful friends to the beautiful island of St. Lucia (my bombay ladies :)) Me and my roommate and best friend of 3 years decided to move apart (the low point of 2008). I moved in with 2 new roommates. I celebrated my 24th birthday. I bought a car all by myself. I participated in Race for the Cure in honor of all the amazing women who have fought breast cancer. I got to carve 2 pumpkins for Halloween. I got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice. I got to go to New York City and see the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, a personal dream come true. I got to take a week off and be with my family for Christmas.

It truely has been an eventful year to say the least. I am looking forward to 2009 and everything it has in store. Some personal resolutions I am making for myself are to 1) take better care of myself this year, 2) participate more in my community, 3) send more cards and letters to those I love, 4) start a scrapbook for “My List”, and 5) continue this blog 🙂

Happy New Year everyone! May God bless you in 2009!

 

I’m not sure if there are words. Amazing is the closest I can come. I mean, no other words really do it justice and amazing even falls a bit short. This weekend was a whirlwind. Even though it was such a crazy long drive, very little sleep, and mostly watching the clock to make sure we had time to fit everything in, I would go back in a heart beat and do it all over again. I got to tag along with my two roomies to a 90th birthday party and also a little reunion of friend’s  from Long Island.

The trip started with us driving half way on Friday night and staying in Silver Springs, Maryland. It was such a cute city! Then we drove the rest of the way to New Jersey on Saturday morning. We arrived at Katie’s grandparents’ house, met all the family, did some eating (incredible food by the way) and birthday cake and then headed into the city. We drove through the Lincoln Tunnel, paid way too many tolls (they totally rip you off these days!), then finally arrived in Manhattan. We dropped the car off in the overnight garage, and then jumped on a subway to Rockafeller Center. We walked through the building, through the glass revoloving door,  and there it was. The tree. I was totally mezmorized. And as we were standing there, huge snowflakes began to fall. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life (so far 🙂 ). I took tons of pictures, sent one on my phone to my parents and close friends, we took some group pictures and then walked around the block to see the Saks Fifth Ave. Snowflake Show. We stood there and watched it a few times along with the other 20,000 people who decided to be in Rockafeller Center as well. The snowflakes lit up to “Carol of the Bells”.  It was one of the highlights for sure!  Below is the video. I didn’t shoot this but it is too cool  not to show you!

After we ate a Coney Hot Dog, a pretzel, and some hot cashews, we headed downtown to visit some of Sally’s friends. On the way, over, we passed St. Patricks Cathedral. Beautiful! I also got to take my first cab ride! We finally got there, hung out for a while, but then made it a pretty early night by heading  to bed by 1 am (we were running on only 4 hours from the night before). We then drove the 10 hours back on Sunday. On the way out of the city, I got to see a few cool sites such as Carnegie Hall, lots of Christmas decorations, and then the Louis Vuitton store!

Over all, we had a GREAT time.  There really is no way to explain it. The closest I can come is standing in a Christmas snow globe. It was a very surreal experience to be there and to actually enjoy something that so many New Yorkers see every day. I can officially cross that one off my list now.  I loved the city, the snow, and the whole atmosphere. I highly recomend it! I know I will definitely be going back!

 

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The Tree 🙂

The Saks Fifth Ave. Snowflakes

The Saks Fifth Ave. Snowflakes

St. Patrick's Cathedral. Love this picture!

St. Patrick's Cathedral. Love this picture!

The Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building

LV!

LV!

Charlie the Alligator

Charlie the Alligator

Santa in the Minivan!

Santa in the Minivan!

Back in the day…

The Life List

* Ride in a hot air balloon *Have a meal with someone famous *Walk across the bridge at Grandfather Mountain *Visit Paris and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower *Adopt a rescue dog *Send my parents on a trip funded by only me *Walk/Run in the Cooper River Bridge Run (April 2007) *RUN the entire Cooper River 10K (3/27/2010) *Run a half marathon (aiming for 12/11/2010) *Watch an entire scary movie without hiding my eyes or screaming * Become a Blood Donor (2/5/2010) *Go horseback riding on an actual trail out west *See the Grand Canyon *Take a cross country road trip *Sing kareoke *Backpack around Europe *Visit New York during Christmas to see Rockefeller Center (12/6/2008) *Go on a cruise with my BOMBAYS *Pull the handle on a slot machine in Vegas *Swim with dolphins *Buy an outrageously expensive handbag just b/c I fell in love with it *Attend an awards show of some sort *Win a prize on the radio (Dec. 2007) *Go to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN *Fall in love and stay in love *Become a mom *Become the coolest aunt ever *Dance with my Dad *Learn to Hula Dance *Learn Italian and use it in Italy *Read the Bible cover to cover *Witness a miracle (All of 2009-the year of watching miracles happen) *Move to the beach for retirement *Volunteer regularly for a year *Buy a house and pay it off *Leave a $100 tip for a $10 meal *Go sailing on a sailboat *Learn to surf *Be completely swept off my feet *Go white water rafting with my family (6/3/2010) *Go parasailing *Tour the White House *Return to Haiti (4/3/2010)