Thursday, August 13, 2015

Back at College, Backstage Passes, and Searching 16 Acres for a Missing Pet

So Summer is...almost over! Boo! All the pictures of kids and teachers back in school has me not so much missing the dread of mid July when school supplies stocked the shelves at Wal-Mart and the registration process/new lockers, schedule, etc. It always sent me in a cold sweat, more of the unknown than anything, right? Transitioning into new schools, new teachers, harder subjects with each year, etc. But now as an adult, you look back and see how simple life really was back then.
Because you had to be stylin with the 101 Dalmations swag...

Speaking of being back in school, I went for my Year 2 of Southeastern Tourism Society's Marketing College last week in Dahlonega, GA. I was fortunate to receive another scholarship from Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. It is a three year program for those in the hospitality industry to acquire the highly respected TMP (Tourism Marketing Professional) certification. It is an intense 5 days of a wide range of relevant topics and instructors who volunteer their time. I stay in the dorms on campus of North Georgia University, which is a military college, eat in the cafeteria, and enjoy the feeling of being back in college--for a week, minus the exams! It's a lot of fun to get to know the 75 people or so in the class from all over the south and bring a lot of good ideas to implement back home!
Here are some of my sweet friends from Marketing College! They are all from South Alabama./Gulf Shores, etc.

 Peggie from the Boaz Chamber and I roomed together! :)

And on Day 5 you get your Certificate of Completion with STS President, Bill Hardeman! One more year to go!

Saturday was the 2nd Day of Main Street Music Festival in Albertville. That meant an early morning 5K with another mother/daughter duo, Ola & Whitney:

Mom and I volunteered at the Information Booth at the festival and sold t-shirts, visors, and raffle tickets. That night was the main event--Exile & .38 Special in concert! The best thing about this festival is that it's FREE! Over 47,000 people came throughout the weekend, which is awesome! My Aunt Kristi lives in Atlanta and actually goes to church with Danny Chauncey, the main guitar player in .38 Special. She was coming home for a visit anyway, so it was nice to go backstage and get to meet Danny and his wife Kelly.
 Lastly, got a scary call on Wednesday at work from my mom saying that my pug of 12 years, Cuddles, was lost. Cuddles, being almost 13 years old has major health issues including being blind and deaf, collapsed trachea, enlarged heart, etc. But she's still kicking, which makes her former days of being adventurous hard to accept that she's no longer in the shape for such things. In the matter of 1-2 minutes this little girl escaped from my mom's sight and went deep into the trails and brush that encompasses our 16 acres of land. I came home at lunch and helped look a good hour all over our property before FINALLY hearing a small whimper and saw her trying to get through a gate behind our house! Praise the Lord! That was a scary 3 hours but so glad to have her back home, no worse for wear! Have any of you ever lost a pet, even for just a few hours? It makes you feel so helpless not knowing where your beloved pet is! They really are one of the family and she will be watched at all times now!
For the record, Simba was NO help in the search!
Living Out the Plans
Temporarily losing Cuddles yesterday made me stop & think about how easy it is for us as Christians to get distracted in today's world and lose sight of our main goal--to live for Christ & further His Kingdom. Sometimes we walk around with our own agendas and let our selfish desires rule our path. It is only after we lose focus and sight of where we know we should be & end up in danger that we realize how and when we stumbled. I'm glad that Jesus is forgiving and always welcomes us back with open arms. But how painful for our Father that has to be to watch His children be "temporarily lost" in the world. That is why we have to remain in His Word, prayer, and be accountable with our church family so that when we do get off track, we are never so far gone that we can't find our way. I love the lyrics in "Who You Are" by Outspoken:
You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far that you can't get back when you're lost."
"All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all." Isaiah 53:6

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