Saturday, September 27, 2014

Adventures to the Zoo

Since my mom pretty much stays cooped up inside most of the time, I wanted to take her out and do something she would enjoy. Being that the NC Zoo has had a lot of new additions, I thought that would be a great place to take her. There were six in our group, Momma, Wade, his mother, Cindy, Wades uncle, Jason, Lily, and myself. Recently they had four baby lion cubs (that aren't fully on  exhibit yet but do make special appearances), along with the baby gorillas and cougar cubs. Not to mention that last Saturday was absolutely gorgeous! 
Our good friend, Angie, works at the zoo and reserved momma a motorized wheelchair so that getting around would be easier. The great thing about the zoo is that it's very handicap/stroller friendly. The down side to the zoo on a beautiful Saturday is there are TONS of people and children. Momma did great in the wheelchair, but my nerves were shot the entire time thinking she was going to accidentally run into someone or someone would run into her. Thankfully there were no causalities, well until later...
We had a great time though, I've never see the animals so active. The otters were putting on a show for everyone along with the ocelot and baby gorillas. Did I mention that I could watch the baby gorillas for hours?! Talk about cuteness overload! Saturday was very enjoyable and everyone had a wonderful time. Here's a few photos from the day. 

Now about that causality I was mentioning earlier....
As we were leaving, we took the bus back to the North America side. Here's a little fun fact I learned: The NC Zoo is the largest walking zoo in the world! That's crazy. Being that it's the only zoo I've ever been to, since it's basically in my back yard, I had no idea how it compared to other zoos. I guess we're top notch when it comes to our animals.
Now that I'm through with that tangent..... we had to wait until a handicap bus came so it could load momma. Once we finally got back to the North America side, the bus driver was climbing up the back of the bus to unload her when his foot slipped off the back bumper and his other leg hit the metal door framing on his way down. He was injured pretty badly, so much so he wasn't able to stand and I thought he may have broken it. Other zoo employees came to his rescue minutes later but we did hear that the ambulance came and took him to the hospital. Fortunately it was just bruised very badly, but at least it wasn't broken. 

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.  -Genesis 1:24

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Upside to Credit Cards

When we turned sixteen, my parents gave my twin brother and myself a car to "share" between the two of us and said they'd pay our insurance for the first six months. After that, we were on our own with insurance and gas and such, which meant we'd better start looking for a job and saving money. 
I'm very thankful my parents never spoiled us. Don't get me wrong, we had everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted but I grew up knowing that you had to work for anything you wanted. I have always been good with money and can always afford anything that may pop up (we'll see how that changes once I finally move out). 
Since I've always been good with money, when I wanted to apply for credit cards or loans, that was never really a problem. Now I get offers in the mail ALL the time from them. Credit cards can be a very, very bad thing. People get so far into debt with them and let it get out of hand. However, if you're smart with them, they can be wonderful. 

If you're just starting out with credit, apply for a department store credit card or something small to get your credit started. Make sure you pay it on time and pay it off if possible, otherwise you'll owe interest and that's just throwing money away. Once you get credit established, you can move on to bigger and better things, such as a car loan or bigger credit card. 
Here's where things get fun! There are hundreds of credit cards out there, and lots of different perks to them. Some with annual fees, some with lower interest rates, double points, bonus points, etc. Find something that interest you and works for you. For example: I love to travel, so I found a credit card that gives me a point for every dollar I spend. In the first three months of having the card, if  I made one minimal purchase I'd get a bonus of 50,000 points! 50,000 points = $500. Now that I've had that card for a few years, I put my major purchases on it, and I'm now up to over 70,000 points and I'm hoping to redeem that in for a $700 gift certificate to Carnival. 
Be smart with credit cards! If you don't have the cash to pay for it, don't put it on your credit card. Simple. Paying for purchases with a swipe of a plastic card and not having your bank account decrease is great, that is until you get the bill. And like I said before, if you don't pay your bill off each month and continue to only make the minimal payment, you're just throwing money away in interest. Let the credit card companies pay you. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pit Bulls and Misconceptions

When Wade informed me that he was the owner of a Pit Bull, I'll be honest, I said, "Is it mean?!" totally serious. Most people associate Pit Bulls as being vicious, biting, child murdering devils. I'm here to bring light to this misconception.

Introduce Lana:

Lana is a five and a half year old Pit, and is the SWEETEST, most well behaved dog I've ever encountered. The only thing she's guilty of is licking too much and wanting affection. She could play frisbee all day long if you let her, and gets along great with the three cats she shares a home with. 

I do realize that Pits can be an aggressive dog, but so can ANY dog if its raised/treated the wrong way. If you don't already watch Pit Bulls and Parolees, I advise you to do so, or just one episode. It's about this Pit Rescue in New Orleans and gives a good insight to this breed along with other dogs. 

Lana goes camping or on vacation with the Lawson's EVERYWHERE. It's amazing how many campgrounds wont allow Pit Bulls. That makes their camping choices selective and there's been times we still get looks and comments about her being a Pit. After knowing Lana for over a year, it really makes me angry that people just assume the worst about this breed. Like I said before, I understand why they have a bad rep, there's been numerous cases involving Pit Bulls, I get it. I feel bad for those who blow off Pits and don't want anything to do with them because they are really sweet animals. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Upcoming Events

I get really depressed if I have nothing on my calendar to look forward to. Ok, maybe not depressed, but I don't like it. Therefore, I try to always have something scheduled, and hopefully a trip of some sorts in the mix. Sometimes, I have so much scheduled that I find it hard to keep up with what's going on and am afraid I'll double book something. That's the case lately, but I love staying busy! Let me give you on idea of what my schedule looks like.
My mother will appreciate this since sometimes I forget to tell her I'm going somewhere and never come home for the weekend. This seriously happened a few years back. I went to the mountains with my friend Kelsey and her family. Another one of my friends asked my mother how I was liking the mountains, and my mother had no idea what she was talking about.

Since I start my new job on the 22nd, we're (Wade, Adam, Lily and myself) are making a quick trip to Clearwater, FL. We've been wanting to go here all summer and I threw the idea out there last week to finally go for a long weekend. Everyone was in and able to go, so I booked everything and I'm super excited about this trip. This is one of Wade and mines favorite spots. We'll spend a few nights in Clearwater, and then travel an hour to Weeki Wachee, FL where we'll kayak.
Ya'll, if you've never been kayaking on the Weeki Wachee river, you MUST. It's absoulely a beautiful place and both times I've been before have kayaked right along side manatees. You can spend all day on the river (it's not whitewater kayaking, sorry Michael) and stop to swim and have lunch or whatever. There's even rope swings.

When I return, I have another interview on the 17th. I know I'm suppose to start my new job on the 22nd, and this is all really horrible timing, BUT this is a job interview for a full time position at Wake Forest. I figured it wouldn't hurt to see about it seeings how I need something full time. I'm just praying that God opens which ever door is better and my choice is clear.

As of right now, it's not set in stone, but the following weekend- the 20th and 21st, Wades parents are planning a kayaking trip to the New River (again, sorry Michael- no whitewater).

The next weekend, my good friend Matthew Williams is getting married in Charlotte. I love weddings! Not for the romantics and such, but just to see the different types of weddings people plan. I mean, it helps me to possibly see what I would and wouldn't want if I had a wedding one day.

That gets me through this month and leads us into October. Fall!! I know its fall before October, but I always recognize fall as October.

Any who, the month of October includes the Balloon Festival in Statesville, a bodybuilding competition in Charlotte where one of my biggest inspirations will be, and camping for Halloween!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Reports

As a child, I HATED book reports. Hated. Having to read a book, heaven forbid, and then writing a report... it was terrible. Now years later, I'm sorta doing the same thing on my own accord. Ha

A few months ago I got on a reading kick. I go through these every now and then and can finish a book within a couple of weeks. For those of ya'll that can finish one in a day or few days, let me point out that a few weeks is super fast for the slow reader that I am.

Anyways, a while back I had come across Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank on my iBooks library. It was in the free section and so I thought I'd try it out. And I'm going to be completely honest, I judge books by their covers, and thought it also looked interesting. After downloading it and starting to read it, I couldn't put it down. It's a murder mystery involving a small town girl who has never done anything wrong her entire life, and now she's the prime suspect in her mothers death. I'd give you more details, but I think it's truly just a fun read. I got to the end and find out that there's a whole series to these books! I was ecstatic because honestly I was sad it was almost over. The author has come out with five book in the series so far but I had to wait a few months for her most recent (which I just got last night and started) and so while I was waiting, read a few other books and I'll give a brief overview of those.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I'm sure you've probably heard of this because it's now out in theaters. My hairdresser told me about this and that it was going to be a movie so I thought I'd read it before it came out. It's about two teenagers who have cancer and kinda tells their story. While it was sad and a decent read, I honestly wasn't crazy about it and haven't had the urge to see the movie.

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks: This too is going to be a movie soon. And actually, as most his movies, it's shot here in NC and I've been trying my hardest to be an extra in the movie. My aunt and uncle actually got to be extras and my uncle will probably end up having his footage in the movie. Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors and this book was a very good read. It flips back and forth between two different, but very interesting stories and you can't put the book down because you want to know how they're connected.
Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews: I've read a couple of her books and they're so much fun! I just highly recommend you read this one about a group of ladies from a divorce group. It's quite the comical, edge of your seat drama.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Surprise! This is ALSO going to be a movie. I just saw the previews for it a few weeks ago, but I had no idea until I was a few hundred pages into the book. My hair stylist also recommend this book, but I'll be completely honest, it took me awhile to get into it. And I probably wouldn't have finished it except I saw the previews for the movie, but once I finally got into it, I would stay up late at night reading it. It's about a woman who goes missing and the police start to suspect her husband. Brace yourself for some crude and vulgar words and a TWISTED plot. Also, it's a bit of a long read at around 675 pages (that's what my ipad had it at anyways).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thankful Thursday

As most of you know, I was laid off from my full time job as a Radiation Therapist back in February of this year. It was hard on me. I used to work two (at one point three) jobs and had never been fired or let go. The day I was actually let go I was planning on looking at a house, so of course I was upset. Thankfully, I was still working my part time job that I've had since I was sixteen and there's also the fact that I still live with my parents so I didn't have any major bills. As much as I hated to lose my job, I was glad it happened to me instead of one of the other girls there that have children and bills to consider.
Since being laid off I took to working more at Biscuitville until my severance pay ran out and I was able to draw unemployment (I actually made more drawing unemployment that working a full week at Biscuitville). I applied to any radiation therapist job that I could find- even one at a Federal Prison in Raleigh! I was desperate to do something, anything. After I ran out of therapy jobs to apply to, I started looking for ANY job. Sitting at home all week was starting to drive me nuts!
Then one day I got a call from a lady at Cone Health. I had applied to Moses Cone Hospital the day after being laid off and had an interview for a PRN position there, but they decided not to hire for the position a little while later. However, my information and resume was forwarded to Alamance Regional Hospital for a full time position. I was thrilled to have the opportunity for this job! After many interviews and prayers for God's will, I thought for sure I was going to get it.
I got a call last Tuesday (and boy was I ecstatic, because if it was bad news I probably would have gotten an e-mail) and they informed me that they had hired someone else for the full time position but wanted to offer me the PRN position. For those of you not familiar with PRN, basically it means "as needed". It isn't guaranteed any hours and benefits aren't included, you're basically just filling in for vacations, maternity leave, etc. Reluctantly I took it, I mean, I'm not going to lie, I was REALLY bummed. I wanted full time. I wanted benefits. I wanted a steady source of income.
And then I got to thinking...
I should be thankful! I have a job doing what I love. I mean, I prayed for Gods will, and then I'm going to complain about it? I might not see it now, but He's got a greater plan in store for me. So for now, I'll take this job and be grateful. After all, I was looking for ANY job to begin with.