She’s Getting Married

One of the first pictures I ever posted on my blog of MacKenzie Grace was this sweet picture of her on a mission trip in Jamaica.

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I’ve always been so proud of her love of God and her passion for christian living.  As all of our children have grown up Audley and I have prayed so many prayers that we raise our children in a way pleasing to God.  We have not been perfect parents, but we have tried to be what God expects.  As we have prayed over our children, we started from birth praying that when the time came, God would send the perfect person to accompany our kids through their adult years.  I was specific in my prayers that God send them someone who could compliment their personalities, love them unconditionally through all the good and bad this world has to offer, someone that they could mutually submit to and respect, and above all someone that would help them get to Heaven.

Well, MacKenzie’s getting married!

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Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, her boyfriend, Michael, popped the question this past weekend.

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And just like that my sweet little girl is going to be a Mrs.

Not only is she going to become a Mrs., she is going to be a minister’s wife!

I think God answered our prayer.

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They are giddy with excitement and so in love.

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And I can’t wait to see how God uses them in their future together!

The date is set for June 3, 2017, so be prepared to see a lot more posts as the day arrives!

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April

April is half over and I’m still trying to catch my breath from January, February & March! I’ve truly missed posting on my little blog and I’ve missed YOU, my readers, as well.  

Time really does fly by when you are consumed with work and busyness.  While it’s been fun, I plan to capitalize on fewer hours at work the next several weeks, and really slow down a little bit so that I can enjoy the chaos our life.

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I am a generally lifestyle blog; hence the name Fiddle Dee Dee.  I love to share a glimpse of our home and family which is what I am doing today!

This was one of the earliest pictures of my kiddos that I posted on the blog, over five years ago!  The ladies and my man-child are all grown-up now!

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April 2011

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Christmas at Grove Park Inn

One of the advantages of moving often and living in so many different areas is our Christmas adventures are extremely versatile and ever-changing.  While we have a few traditions that are most important no matter where we live (like a visit to Santa… and yes, I know my kids are teenagers), other things we do to celebrate the season are subject to change based on where we are living.  From making the round of small-town Christmas parades in Tennessee and Alabama to celebrating Christmas at the John Deere museum in Moline, Illinois; we have made so many fabulous memories over the years!

Grove Park Inn

While living in South Carolina the last  four years (The longest we have stayed anywhere, I might add), we have built many special traditions; one of our favorites being the one-hour drive up to Grove Park Inn in  Asheville, NC to see dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees and the Gingerbread houses that are a part of the National Gingerbread Competition each year.  We do this a some point during Thanksgiving week as a way to kick off our family holiday celebrations and I must tell you this year was absolutely fabulous!

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A visit to Grove Park Inn is a treat in itself and a trip back in time.

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Opened in 1913 as a resort, the Asheville area was chosen based on the belief that the climate was healthier for Edwin Grove, the mind behind this beautiful space.  Over the years many notable people from presidents to celebrities have stayed at this luxurious and historic location.  F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed here for two years writing while his wife was hospitalized in Asheville.

Grove Park Lobby

Besides the gorgeous lobby with its amazing fireplaces and lodge atmosphere that immediately gives you the impression of arriving home, there are several unique shops that fit the area, a restaurant that allows you to enjoy the beautiful mountain views as you dine, a sweet little cafe & coffee shop and a grand spa in which to pamper and spoil yourself.

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 The Inn is now owned by the Omni Group, but they have still maintained much of the charm that the Inn represents.  It makes for a wonderful family get-away, or in our case an easy day trip.

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The charm of the Inn is evident from the moment you arrive until you leave, especially during the holiday season.

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 The lobby with its double fireplaces, one on each side of the space, is magnificent and cozy all at the same time.

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There are Christmas trees all throughout the hotel;  so many  themes, every style, and each one of them putting you in the mood to celebrate the season!

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Enjoying a little time with my girls

Enjoying a little time with my girls

And then there are the Gingerbread houses.

A model of the Grove Park Inn on display

A model of the Grove Park Inn on display

These aren’t your buy a kit, assemble in the kitchen, and decorate with icing and candy gingerbread houses.  These are carefully planned and crafted  creations that will amaze you with their creativity and detail.

The National Gingerbread competition is held in November each year and is open to all ages and even teams of people.  According to the rules, entries are not limited to the structure of a house as long as it meets the guidelines set.  Except for the base, entries must be entirely composed of edible materials.  That last phrase is what makes these creations so neat!

Check some of these out!

This was one of the child entries displayed at the hotel.

This was one of the child entries displayed at the hotel.

One of the teen winners on display.  So very impressive!

One of the teen winners on display. So very impressive!

I loved this scenery entered by an adult competitior.

I loved this scenery entered by an adult competitor.

How cute is this??

How cute is this??

The detail of these creations is unbelievable.

The detail of these creations is unbelievable.

Can you believe the color, detail and execution of theme in this winner?

Can you believe the color, detail and execution of theme in this winner?

Not all entries are houses...

Not all entries are houses…

Some are angels...

Some are angels…

Some are Santas.... I LOVED this entry!

Some are Santa’s…. I LOVED this entry!

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And then there was the grand prize…

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Not as colorful as some, but completely and totally so full of craftsmanship and detail it is unbelievable!

Not as colorful as some, but completely and totally so full of craftsmanship and detail it is unbelievable!

Check out the opossum in the window!!

Check out the opossum in the window!!

Visiting the Inn to see the Gingerbread houses does not cost anything, other than parking.  I do recommend if you are going to visit Grove Park, whether you are staying several days, or just spending the day, that you use the valet parking service.  It’s only $5 more than self-parking and so much easier than a long walk or waiting on a shuttle.  Also, be prepared to a little crowd.  Going on a weekday is obviously going to be less busy than the weekend.

A little wish from our family to yours!

A little wish from our family to yours!

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The of Class of 2015

I’ve alluded to it many times the last couple of weeks, especially if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, but our daughter MacKenzie Grace graduated high school last week.

Complete with honors and accolades, this girl of ours walked the stage and received her diploma, ending a chapter in her life.

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Graduation was met with mixed emotions.  MacKenzie was thrilled to end this part of her life, and I was a wee bit sentimental over it all.  Some how I managed to hold it all together while she walked the stage and now we are ready fort he next chapter to begin as she prepares to go off to college in August.  She was one of only 32 Honor’s grads in her class of 500, so to say that Audley and I are proud of her does not begin to describe how we feel.

Here is a glimpse of our graduation celebrations that brought in friends and family from six hours away to celebrate this special moment.

This is where I thought I was going to loose it .... She put on her cap for the final time.

This is where I thought I was going to lose it …. She put on her cap for the final time.

I loved having all of my children together for this special occasion; my step-daughter Samantha and her huband Justin drove in to stay with us!

I loved having all of my children together for this special occasion; my step-daughter Samantha and her husband Justin drove in to stay with us!

MacKenzie's best friend from back "home" surprised her by coming in for graduation!  We've been planning this treat since November and loved having Sara be a part of our special day!

MacKenzie’s best friend from back “home” surprised her by coming in for graduation! We’ve been planning this treat since November and loved having Sara be a part of our special day!

My three girls celebrating the day

My three girls celebrating the day

You have to love the bond between a brother and sister!

You have to love the bond between a brother and sister!

Of course Audley and I were super proud of this girl, just as we are proud of all our children!

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No momentous occasion is complete without generation pictures ….. I loved having both sets of grandparents in from Alabama and Tennessee for this big day!

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The Jones grandparents

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Watkins Grandparents

For MacKenzie there was nothing but joy.

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And the excitement at getting to be the center of attention for the evening.

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Class of 2015

What’s next for MacKenzie?

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She applied to several colleges and universities and was accepted to every one of them.  After several road trips talking to admissions and recruiters, MacKenzie Grace will be attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the fall, majoring in Athletic Training.

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We tried our best not to influence her in any way, but allow her to make the decision that fit her best, and it seems USC has exactly what she wants with the clearest plan to make her dreams happen.

And based on her text message I received just days ago when her rooming assignment arrived, we will be doing a lot of planning and decorating this summer.

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And of course I will share it all with you!

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