Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Angels Among Us

The world got just a little darker this week as one of the brightest stars was laid to rest. Without a doubt, Rosa Mae Morgan Canady, my grandmother, was one of the sweetest individuals that I have ever met and likely ever will. Her life was far from perfect, but she delighted in even the smallest things -- visits from her many friends, crocheting blankets for a new born baby, spending time with her family. I suspect that my love of all things pink and all things chocolate came directly from her.

The baby of the family and the only granddaughter in the midst of seven grandchildren, I enjoyed the time that I got to spend with Grandmother. My visits with her as a child include memories of sleeping on "palettes" on the floor at the bottom of her bed, going to the get the mail from her little box (she would always lift me up so that I could be the one to get it...and I learned the hard way to always check my pocket for her keys BEFORE we left to go home!), wonderful food and treats, and countless colorful expressions that often found themselves merged into the daily lexicon of my family ("Lord, Randy...you know not!" and "oh, foot!" being among the favorites).

We learned many things from Grandmother -- that going out with a "wet head" was a horrible thing and that walking around with your hair in your face was nearly as bad. And did you know that an "eggshell and a half" of milk could make the sweet chocolate chess pie? Most of all, though, I think we learned what living life as a woman of God was all about. Grandmother's life, disposition, and faith were a living reminder of what we were put on Earth for -- to serve God and to love others.

For all the sadness that my family has felt this week, I know that there is great rejoicing in heaven -- one of the faithful has returned home.

We love you, Grandmother...and we always will.

Rosa Mae Morgan Canady
1911 - 2008

Merry Christmas (and Happy New Year)!

Hope you and yours had a good Christmas. Ours was a good time spent with family -- Christmas Eve with Dave's side of the family and Christmas Day with my side.

Christmas Eve Christmas at my in-law's house

Check out more Christmas pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/merth2erth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

A few of my favorite Christmas decorations...

Our old apartment had a bar/counter where we could hang up our stockings. I wasn't sure where we were going to hang them in our house (no fireplace = no mantel), but I've decided that the piano makes a perfect location! (The little stocking is Sadie's!)

Christmas tree
Our Christmas tree in its decorated glory. Dave always makes me "fluff" out the tree, but then he helps put the ornaments on. Our ornaments are a blend of things we each got as children and a few items that we've gotten since we've been together. As much as I like the pretty and polished trees that some people have where everything matches and is color coordinated, I've always really liked the homey feel of a mix-matched tree of memories.

A few other pictures of our holiday decor...
Christmas centerpiece Santa central Outside decorations at night Front door decorations

Monday, December 8, 2008


My brother and I have a long history of naming our cars. I'm not exactly sure why we insist on our cars having names, but we do.

To name just a few, we've had Christine (a fire-engine red Chevy Nova that was originally the color of blue-green rust), Quince (named for the number of miles that the car had when bought), Helga (an old German name for an old German car), and Corolla de Ville (which always inspired a certain catchy Disney song).

Now, there's a new car to add to the list -- meet Fiona, our "new" (read: new to us) Suzuki Forenza.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tis the Season

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children,
they are all 30 feet tall." --Larry Wilde

It would appear that Christmas time has arrived. Dave and I decorated our house last Friday, but the pictures are still on my camera, so this will have to do for now.

This is the (slightly sad looking) stuffed Christmas tree that adorns my desk at work. I've had the tree for a very long time -- I think I received it in a gift exchange in high school or possibly even middle school. Though certainly not the most beautiful decoration that I've ever owned, it is easily portable and virtually indestructible and has served as my own personal dose of Christmas cheer no matter where I have found myself around Christmas.

The Christmas that I spent in Bolivia, the little tree was the only Christmas tree that I had. I wrapped my gifts, stacked them in a pile, and placed the tree on top (you know, because presents are supposed to be under the tree!). My brother laughed when I packed the tree in my luggage that July, but come December, I was glad that I had it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vacation time...

Thanksgiving break in T minus 3, 2, 1.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tales from Long Ago

That is a good book which is opened with expectation and
closed in profit.~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight. ~ Robertson Davies ~

I don't remember exactly when I picked up that copy of As the Waltz Was Ending by Emma Macalik Butterworth, but I'm pretty sure that it was somewhere around the 4th or 5th grade. The autobiographical story of a young ballerina in pre-WWII Vienna gripped me from the beginning. I had likely chosen the book from the library shelves because, as a young dancer myself, I enjoyed reading books about dance. Little did I know, however, that the book would end up being one of those stories that sticks with you for life.

If I remember correctly, the autobiography is divided into two parts. Part 1 primarily details Emma's daily life and her beginnings with the corps de ballet in Vienna. Slowly, in the midst of the color and grace of the dancing world, you begin to see the influence of the Nazi regime as they push into Austria. Part 2 follows the shattering results of the Russian occupancy of Vienna.

I can't be certain what it was about the story that drew me in so completely, but as Emma vividly described the air raids over Vienna, I found myself listening for raid sirens in the background. For the next several years after reading As the Waltz Was Ending, I was fascinated with the World War II time period.

A few months ago, I found a used copy of the book on Amazon (it's currently out of print). It's been sitting on my book shelf ever since, but I've been hesitant to open its pages...afraid that the experience of reading it won't live up to the one in my memory. It's taken awhile, but I think I'm finally ready....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grace in Motion

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. --Ephesians 2:8-9 (New American Standard Bible)

Last December, Dave and I got the opportunity to hear Josh Hamilton and his wife Katie speak at our church. Now a household name to many, that Sunday was the first time I had heard Josh's story. It's an amazing tale of God's grace and faithfulness.

Since then, it seems like Josh has been everywhere -- breaking records at the home run derby, signing books at our local Barnes & Noble (it probably helps that we live in his hometown!), and appearing on a host of news and TV shows. I have yet to hear him speak when he hasn't first and foremost given glory to God for where he is and where he's going.

Josh is speaking at our church again this coming week, and I'm looking forward to hearing what he says. God has given him an incredible opportunity to reach the thousands (millions?) of people that he comes in contact with, and I'm reminded that we are each given that same opportunity -- to be a mirror of God's love and mercy to those around us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The half-time fireworks were nice....

"Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that."- Bill Shankly

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

A blank canvas... Welcome Home
Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. ~From Scooby-Doo

Monday, October 27, 2008

Have you?

I have to admit that I'm about one of the least politically-minded people out there. I mean, I know enough about the political realm to have some idea of what's going, and yes, I did attend Bush's inauguration in 2001 (I happened to be in D.C. and decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity), but that's about as far as it goes. Right or wrong, I'm probably more interested in watching The American President than, well...the American president.

But I still think it's important to vote.

I went to an early voting location on Thursday and completed my civic duty. And, you know what? I felt really good about it. Not because I'm campaigning for anyone in particular or because I love the candidates that I voted for, but because I know that I did my part.

And that's cooler than any movie could be...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Beautiful Day

An intimate portrait
Originally uploaded by merth2erth

There are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.
- I Corinthians 13:13

Tommy and Leanna's wedding was absolutely beautiful this past weekend. Dave and I were thrilled and honored to be a part of their special day. Leanna was positively radiant, and I've never seen Tommy look so happy in my life!


(Check out my flickr page for more pics from the wedding...)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Mina Project

One of the things that Dave and I like about the church we go to is their commitment to "Global Hope" -- helping people beyond the four walls of our church. The church has monthly food drives, opens the doors as an overnight shelter during cold winter nights, and sends teams all over the world to help those who are physically, emotionally, and spiritually in need.

In my opinion, however, one of the coolest things that Hope has done is The Mina Project. Based on Jesus' parable of the mina (John 19), the project began last fall when the church passed out $35,000 to its members. In sealed envelopes that were passed out during service one weekend, members of the church were given varying amounts and told to multiply it and disperse it as they saw fit to those in need. In total, the $35,000 produced about $200,000 in gifts around the community and the world.

About a month ago, Hope decided to try the project again. This time, they gave out $50,000 with instructions to multiply the mina and return the money in late October. The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to build a hospital in Haiti (working through the Hope4Haiti Foundation), with the remaining funds going to various organizations and ministries in the Triangle.

For my mina project, I am partnering with a friend of mine to sell Hope for Haiti note cards. My friend is a fantastic artist, and she designed three unique card fronts for the packs. We are selling them for $6 for a pack of 3 cards (1 of each design) until Friday, Oct. 24. Let me know if you're interested in checking them out!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Heart Stormy

Summer is over, and hockey begins tonight. Let's go 'Canes!

(And just for the record, Stormy is... THE. BEST. MASCOT. EVER!)

My Favorite Hurricane The Stormy Squad

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Team Spirit

"Sports are the reason I am out of shape. I watch them all on TV." - Thomas Sowell

It seems like everyone has that one type of show or a certain channel that they watch the most. My dad has joked before that our family is like that. He and my mom watch a lot of HGTV, my brother and sister-in-law watch the Food Network, and Dave and I...well, we watch a lot of sports.

I know some girls (and even some guys) who would run screaming from that prospect, but I actually don't mind. (Although I will say that I'm thankful Dave isn't interested in watching EVERY game of
EVERY sport that's shown on TV!)

I learned a long time ago that one of the best ways to spend time with my dad was to curl up on the couch on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and watch the game with him. I learned quite a bit from watching sports with him, and I'm glad that I did. I may not be able to give you a solid description of how an "offside" in football is different from an "offside" in hockey, but at least I have some idea of what I'm watching!

Like my dad, Dave enjoys having someone to watch with, and I'm glad he considers me a worthy companion. Go team!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I know, I know....it's been awhile. It's not that I haven't wanted to post something. I have! It's just that I've been a little busy. Not too busy for writing. I mean, I can do that at work...er, in my free time. But it's that crazy desire to want to post pictures with my blogs. And where are my pictures, you ask? Still sitting on my camera of course! Where else would they be?

"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday." ~Don Marquis

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mother Goose

Update: She found the goose. I'm sure it will be showing up again at my house soon....

The goose has returned....

For over a year now, my mother-in-law and I have been swapping a tuxedo-clad ceramic goose. Because neither of us actually wants it, we keep trying to give the goose to each other. The goose has been hidden, mailed, held for ransom, and involved in a number of other escapades.

Recently, however, the goose has been dormant. After a particularly disastrous attempt at delivering the goose to my mother-in-law in a vat of jell-o (Don't ask. It wasn't pretty.), the goose ended up going into hibernation for a few months. It sat lurking in my kitchen cabinets, waiting for the right opportunity to make its re-emergence.

The time has finally come. The goose made an appearance a little over a week ago and has been lying in wait to be discovered. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before his jungle hiding place is uncovered.

But until then, don't tell my mother-in-law.... ;-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


"Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful: yourself."--Alan Alda

Today I got this very cute purse (a belated birthday present) from my friend Amanda, an elementary-school friend who re-appeared in my life about 15 years later. Cute on its own, I think the purse is even more special because Amanda made it. Passionate about recycling and saving the earth, Amanda has come up with a great way to re-create what would otherwise be just an ordinary placemat. I think it's pretty cool!

Such creativeness really inspires me. I am continuously awe-struck by the creative endeavors I see around me -- scrapbooking, sewing, painting, baking. And while there are people who have more creative juice in their pinkie finger (read: the Martha Stewart types) than I do in my whole body, there is a part of me that longs to be crafty and creative.

So maybe I'll finally get around to those projects that keep lurking about -- the wedding scrapbook, the half-completed cross-stitch picture (never mind the unstarted one in the closet!) -- or maybe I'll get really bold and figure out what I'm going to do with my newly acquired sewing machine. After all, a girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Smoochacha Patchko Goes to Pittsburgh

Meet Smoochacha Patchko. Smoochacha is my friend Diana's travel kitty (TK). TKs are kind of like traveling gnomes. A woman in New York makes the TKs and sells them to people around the world. Those people then take pictures of all of the places that their travel kitty visits. (Learn more about the Travel Kitty Project here.) At any rate, Diana thought it might be fun if Smoochacha went with Dave and I on our vacation to Pittsburgh. We had a blast showing Smoochacha around the city (even if we did get a few funny looks in doing so!).

Smoochacha Goes to Pittsburgh Mmm, cheesecake Fire! Where should we start? Watch out, Smoochacha! Hello, Mr. Turtle

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Boogety, boogety, boogety...let's go racing, boys!

As dorky as it may seem, one of the things that I really like about where I work is that we have a "Fun Committee" -- a group of people who try to schedule group events every few months. Our company started the committee several years ago as a way to encourage employee bonding and cross-departmental unity.

While I learned during my year-long stint on the committee that the events themselves are more fun than planning them, I'm glad that we have people who are willing to put the time and effort into our activities. In the 3+ years that I've been here, we have had pot-lucks and cookouts, bowling outings and holiday parties, craft times and movie days.

This year's committee has done a really good job of mixing things up a bit. Case in point, we had the first annual CASTLE pinebox derby race last week. I remember my brother participating in the Boy Scout derbys when I was little, so I thought it would be fun to participate. Then I got my bag of materials. Hmm.

Refusing to give in to the I'm-in-over-my-head feeling, I set out to design my pinebox car entry. With a little help from my FIL, MIL, and Dave, I created a truck for racing. It was meant to be modeled after the NASCAR Craftsman racing trucks, but it ended up looking a little more like a supped-up pick-up. Oh well. It was fun!

The beginnings....

The Beginning

The finished product...
Side view

In the end, my truck tied for 3rd place in the racing division.

Here are some of the other entries...there was a racing division and a creative division.
The Creativity WinnersKen's and Shannon's carsChris's carKelly's castle

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing with Pictures

On one of the blogs that I read, the author mentioned that she had recently found the program Smilebox. It allows you to create photo albums for your blog (complete templates -- all you have to add are the pictures). I thought that sounded kind of cool, so I've been playing around with it some.

Here is my experiment...

Click to play Me and Dave
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family Portraits

In celebration of my grandmother's 85th birthday this week, my extended family gathered in the great metropolis of Raleigh to celebrate, but of course, no Wilkins/Garrard family gathering is complete without a few family portraits. This year, we went all out, even requiring immediate family groups to color-coordinate. The Canady clan wore red. The photo "session" was hot, but the pictures turned out pretty great.

The grandkids and great grandkids. I think this picture turned out great! Our moms/aunts usually make us take this kind of picture on a staircase (a tradition that started LONG ago!), but I think this one looks just as good...especially since there are so many of us now!
Grandkids and great grandkids

The Canady clan.
Family Portrait

Three generations of Wilkins/Garrard women. Grandmother with her three daughters and three granddaughters.
Three Generations

Me and Dave. I feel like we're posing for prom pictures. :-)
The Kunys

My new favorite picture of us.
Self Portrait

And, finally...playing in the gazebo!
The gazebo at Brighton Gardens

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So, it's no secret that I've lost quite a bit of weight. In many ways, following the Weight Watchers plan has changed my life. My body has changed dramatically over the past year and a half, but really, the journey has just begun. One of the big pulls of Weight Watchers is that it is a lifestyle change, not a diet. And I've embraced that whole-heartedly. I know that I am going to have to track what I eat for the rest of my life. Sometimes that seems like a lot to deal with, but then I think about the benefits of sticking with it, and I realize that it's completely worth it. Weight Watchers has become a part of my life -- I think about the plan, I read message boards from others involved, I take time to plan out my meals, I talk to others about it. Just this morning, I was talking with a co-worker who was discouraged about her weight and encouraging her that it is absolutely possible to do something about it.

As I was thinking about that exchange, a thought struck me. If I'm this passionate about something as silly as weight loss, shouldn't I be even more passionate about my faith? Following Weight Watchers has helped me improve my health and fit into smaller clothes, but following Christ has saved me from eternal damnation and blessed me beyond belief. I mean, it's not even a comparison, is it?

And yet, it seems so hard to live that way sometimes. But I want to. I really want to. I'm reminded of the story of the child who reasoned that if God was bigger than everything and He lived inside of us, then shouldn't He stick out? So, that's my prayer today: that God would be so big inside of me that He sticks out...no matter what size my body is.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Independence Day

Hope you and yours had a lovely 4th of July. Ours was nice -- family, good food, and a little kids parade. The little kids in my parent's neighborhood decorated their bikes and hot wheels and power wheels (the hummer was my favorite!) and paraded down the neighborhood streets. The parade was short, but it was cute.

The best part about the parade was that it reminded me of my childhood -- the neighborhood I lived in in elementary school used to do the same thing. My friends and I would spend days decorating our bikes with streamers and balloons, planning out our most patriotic outfits, and painting our fingernails red, white, and blue (alternating, of course!).

Since that time, the way I celebrate the 4th has changed a little. While I hated fireworks as a kid (WAY too loud), I love them now. One of the best displays I've ever seen was in Richmond one summer when I was in college. That was the first time I had ever seen fireworks in the shape of a smiley face. Very cool.

Other years have been a little tougher to celebrate. In both 2000 and 2003, the 4th holiday arrived not long after I returned to the U.S. from living in another country. Reverse culture shock can really mess with your head.

These days, I'm glad to be in the good 'ole U.S. of A. We have so much to be thankful for and so many brave men and women to be thankful to.

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck