Saturday, March 31, 2012

A One Night Vacation

I received a very thoughtful gift a few weeks ago.  It was a gift certificate for a night at the O'Henry Hotel here in Greensboro.  Thanks to some wonderful friends who kept our girls, we were able to get away last night for some rest and quiet.

We arrived at the O'Henry late Friday afternoon just in time for our reserved sitting for tea.  They stop serving before dinner, so we had to make sure we got there in time.  We were taken to our comfortable seats by the window and the grand piano by the sweetest little tea hostess.  She was like someone out of a movie.  She curtsied, and walked with the gracefulness of a ballerina.  She explained the featured tea which was "passion plum".  I especially like the sound of it so I ordered it.  She curtsied and replied, "Of course." (I could get used to that kind of treatment.  Wouldn't it be lovely to give my students or my children assignments at school and they gently curtsy or bow with "Of course" as their response?)  She exited (very gracefully) and we sat and talked without interruption.  Classical music was playing softly and we could hear the quiet murmuring of a few other guests around us.  My daughters and I have tea at the O'Henry every summer before returning to school in August.  It has become a "tradition".  I knew my manly husband would even enjoy the sophisticated elegance of the tea and treats.  Our lady in waiting arrived back with two beautiful pots of tea and placed them on the little table between our wing backed chairs on the trivets.  She gave us fresh lemon wedges, brown sugar cubes, cream and sweeteners.  We each had a unique cup and saucer with a very small teaspoon.  As we sipped our tea and enjoyed our assortment of small bites, we had a lovely conversation.  I found myself having forgotten how to really slow down and take my time.  I used to wonder why people had tea so late in the afternoon, but I think I really began to understand it as I sat there and began to feel my heart rate slow and my mind relax.  "Of course."

I have had a headache that has lasted all week.  I even had it that morning.  As I sat there drinking my tea I realized that it had finally gone....completely.

After tea, we went to see "The Vow" at the movie theater.  I can't believe it is still out.  Everyone else was in line for "The Hunger Games", of course, and therefore we had no problem getting tickets.  As a matter of fact, we were the only ones in the theater.  A private showing...just for us!  "Of course!".  I am still amazed at the outcome of the movie.   We had watched a news interview online of the couple that the movie was based on and knew that they were happy with the overall results except that their faith was left out of the story line.  As we watched the movie, it was nice to know that even though the movie did not mention their faith and the part it played in their journey, it was there all the same and the main reason for the survival of their marriage.

After the movie we took our overnight bag up to our room.  It was very spacious with the biggest bathroom I have ever seen in a hotel room.  We then made our way downstairs to have dinner at the Green Valley Grill (all included in our gift certificate, "of course").  We enjoyed a quiet meal, and commented on the fact that we had nowhere to rush to or any reason to be in a hurry.  We agreed that work would not be part of our conversation.  After dinner we enjoyed some television and had a very restful night's sleep.  I haven't slept that hard in a while.

This morning we woke up to a drizzling rain and cloudy skies.  That didn't cloud our breakfast.  We had breakfast in the beautiful garden room full of windows overlooking the gardens of greenery outside.  There was bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, grits, oatmeal, pastries, cereal, fresh "local" jams made from blueberries and blackberries, hot black coffee, every type of juice you can think of, an assortment of teas, and someone quietly around just in case we needed anything, of course.   It was a lovely quiet breakfast enjoyed with the most wonderful company and beautiful classical music playing in the background.  This place knows what they are doing.   We sat in the corner right by the windows.  We could see the veranda, where on sunny days you can also choose to sit outside.  I personally didn't mind the rainy morning though.  I think it allowed me to slow down and savor the moment.   After breakfast we went back to our room to sip more coffee, watch the news and read the paper.  What a luxury.  The thought of packing up and leaving didn't make me sad.  I was able to really enjoy each step of our over night stay and felt rested and ready to face the next few days.  As we left the hotel, the sun was shining and the rain was gone......just like in a novel....maybe by O'Henry.

I am very thankful to the ones who provided us with this gift of a night away.  We commented many times over the last twenty four hours how special and relaxed it was.  We didn't have to drive anywhere, we only had to pack one outfit, and we were not tired from the drive.

I have a lot to do before the end of the school year.  I have to finish two online college courses to renew my professional license.  I have several concerts to prepare for.  The girls have projects, field trips, practices, lessons, games, recitals and festivals.  There are the numerous end of the year activities at school that seem like one long event all strung together.  I feel like I am in a better frame of mind.  I may need a tiny respite over the next couple of months, but someday I hope to have another overnight respite like we had this weekend.

Would I recommend The O'Henry?
Will I save up my money and hope to stay there again?

Why, of course.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


74 degrees and a soft breeze...
Freshly mowed grass...
The sun just behind the trees...
Two cardinals playing tag in the trees...
Reading my Bible with the songs of the birds as my background...

Bare feet...
Sitting on the swing on the porch...
"This is so good" mumbled from the mouths of my family during supper...
Fresh blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries washed and waiting in the refrigerator for later...

The kitchen cleaned from supper...
The girls' homework finished before 9:00 pm for the first time in days...or weeks...

I remember an afternoon and evening like this many many weeks ago.  I am so thankful another one decided to show up and surround me.

Thank you, Lord.
I am truly blessed...
And extremely grateful.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


My 11 year old daughter made me a home-made peanut butter pie for my birthday.  She wanted to make Paula Dean's recipe, so she looked it up, had her Daddy take her to the store to buy the ingredients with the money she'd saved and she made it last night.  My 12 year old went to one of my favorite stores and got me a gift card.  I have such lovely daughters who love to think of others and do things for them.  I am blessed.

I had some daisies (of course) on my desk from a dear, dear friend because "daisies are such a happy flower", some "Peeps" from one of my peeps, and a lovely lavender candle for the day when I can finally take a bubble bath and relax.  I'm going to put that on my "to do" list.  Two of my sweet students (a brother and sister) bought me a fun necklace that has a changeable pendant.  It is so unique.  They are so thoughtful.  My Admin team had some cake from the Fresh Market (can't beat that!) and my wonderful colleagues in the high school had a to-die-for chocolate dessert cake.  Mmmmmmm.   All my classes sang "Happy Birthday" to me today in beautiful harmony.  It was truly a lovely thing.

One of my favorite things on my birthday is the phone call I get from my parents.  They call me every year on my birthday, bright and early in the morning and sing "Happy Birthday" in two part harmony to me.  It is truly my favorite part of my birthday.  I hate to think of the day I won't hear that anymore.  I will cherish it every year!

I am thankful for many things.  Being alive is truly a blessing.  Time with my children is priceless.  Watching them learn and grow into the young women God has created them to be is such a privilege.
I am also thankful for parents who raised me in a loving Christian home.  My parents are still together and I do not take that for granted.  I have a great brother who has a wonderful family.  I am also blessed with a wonderful Christian husband.  He is a wonderful provider, friend, and father to our girls.  He is everything I could ever ask for in a lifetime partner.  I love him with all of my heart and being.

My oldest got inducted into the National Jr. Beta Club tonight.  So proud of her good grades, character, service and leadership.  My youngest came home and said she had some free time before bed so she wanted to read.....what a blessing.  She is reading Black Beauty- a classic, of course.

Thank you, Lord.   My cup runneth over.