Grandma Shari's Anticipation

I have been looking forward to this day for months. Danny, Joshua, Andrew and Pax are on their way to visit us in our new home! It will be hours before they arrive. But I'm ready.

I have hot dogs, Gogurt, Danimals Smoothies, strawberries, ice cream, Lucky Charms, Angry Birds Honey Grahams, varieties of chocolate, Butterfingers, Skittles and Sour Patch candy. All the boys' favorites. I have carnitas slow cooking in the crock pot for tacos and fresh avocados waiting to be turned into guacamole. It smells so good in here!

We will see New River Gorge ... eat pizza and wings at Pies and Pints. The boys and I will go to the pool while Daddy and Poppy John golf. We will visit a playground or two. We will hopefully see lots of wildlife and do a little fishing at the lake. We'll go to church, visit the dealership; meet new friends. The boys will eat too many treats and time will pass much too quickly!

We will miss Rebecca being here with us. She had a prior commitment this weekend. But hopefully Danny and the boys will enjoy their trip so much that they will be eager to come back and bring her with them. I cannot imagine anyone not loving it here. It is so beautiful.

I think being a grandma is even better than being a kid on Christmas morning!

It's been a busy week. We went to Philadelphia for our first Honda Dealers Meeting since John took over the dealership in Beckley. He was with Honda previously (in Cookeville, TN), so we have been to these meetings in the past. And it was like coming home. John has always been a Honda dealer at heart. He has wanted another Honda store ever since he and his partner sold Cookeville Honda. And I have always said I was willing to make the "sacrifice" of moving for that to happen for him. But what I originally thought of as a sacrifice has turned into such a huge blessing. I get to live in a beautiful vacation destination year-round. And I've been able to see the kids every single month since we moved.

We had so much fun in Philadelphia. We got to see some old friends. We were able to squeeze in a little sightseeing. We saw the Liberty Bell, went to Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House. We visited the grave of Benjamin Franklin and stood in the very room where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. We stood inside the original building where The United States Supreme Court met before moving to DC. We walked all over the city, had a glass of wine in a neat little wine bar/pizzeria, ate an authentic Philly Cheesesteak (probably not the best we could have had). And we had the most awesome lump crab dip I have ever tasted at Thirteen (in the Downtown Marriott Hotel) ... TWICE.

We also got to see the 2013 Accord, Civic and Crosstour! Wow! They are beautiful! (You'll have to wait. We were not allowed to take pictures.) Honda has always produced great vehicles that retain their value and perform with superiority. But this year they have outdone themselves (with exceptionally gorgeous vehicles in my opinion).

And next weekend we get to see Charlie Daniels in Parkersburg!

Spring and Summer have been so amazing. I can't believe how great life has been right off the bat here. I know Fall is going to be spectacular (because we've had a lot of rain). And Winter will be beautiful, even if it feels longer than the other seasons. Living in the mountains of West Virginia is so different from any other place I've lived (and especially Southern California). I didn't know what seasons were the first 33 years of my life. Then I spent 19 years in Nashville. And now I'm really getting a taste of the four seasons amidst the most vivid changes I've yet to experience.

I'm thankful to have this opportunity to live in yet another new area, meet new friends and make more memories. I know these are the best years of my life. I am so aware of that. I think about it almost every day. And I think about every day being such a precious gift. I feel blessed to be enjoying life so much. I am savoring every day. And I'm still working on that second book.

Ten years ago this month, I made a very difficult decision that would change the rest of my life. I didn't know what the future held. I wasn't sure I had a great future to look forward to. I just knew I couldn't endure the life I was in any longer. I had to leave the familiar and risk the uncertain. I remember thinking, better to do it at 43 than wait until I'm 53.

Now I am 53. And that decision turned out to be one of the best choices I have ever made. It took courage and strength I didn't feel like I had. But God's strength takes over when ours fails. God saw me through those struggles and blessed me with a life I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams.

Is it any wonder I'm so thankful for every day?