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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NCFCA Tournaments -- This is the time of our lives -- Don't take it for granted -- These memories will be with us forever!! -- Part II

Dear Readers,

I am terribly sorry it has been so long….but my, my, all that has been going on….

But as one person is apparently worried about whether the “blog has shut down”, emails me/comments/google+’s me, and “checks my blog first thing in the morning when he gets up” I thought I had better post before he has a heart attack…..

As I stated in my last post, each tournament is getting its own post. So, without further ado.....


Our second tournament of the season, in March, was in Annandale, VA (right outside of DC) and was probably the most interesting tournament, for me, of the year.

This tournament, John Christian and I knew we would have fun, because the majority of the people we usually hang out with....weren't going to be there :P.......including our club. So that would make us kinda stretch ourselves to talk to new people! (Which I always love doing, anyway.) For various reasons, no one else in our club was going to that tournament. JC's parents couldn't go either. That left him, me, and my parents.

So we decided that all four of us would go together in our car. Now, for those of you who don't know, JC is about 6'4" and we have a car/SUV crossover. My dad is an expert car-loader. Reason being, he used to work in Charlotte at the airport loading the bellies of cargo planes. Which means, not only did everything have to fit, but the weight had to be distributed evenly. I've seen him work miracles when it comes to loading, and he's never doubted that he could get everything in a vehicle......until this trip....

By the time he got done loading our family's things in the car, it was completely full! I mean completely! Our backseat had been pushed forward as far as it would go, the back was full to the ceiling, and there was "stuff" in the backseat as well. My dad came in and said: "I hate to tell you, but John Christian better be wearing what he's got on every day to the tournament, and have no evidence...because I can't fit anything else in that car!!" Mama and I stared at each other both thinking..."What are we going to do???" Our main problem was a very large cooler. (You know, the kind that are so big they never should have been invented...) There were a few things that didn't need to go in the cooler, and by the time we ended up going through it we put everything in a cooler about 2/3 smaller than the previous one. Which helped quite a bit! We loaded everything back in while my dad was muttering: "It helped but I still don't see how I'm going to get his stuff in here..."

We went to out rendezvous point to pick up JC. We got there, and poor Daddy almost completely unloaded the car again...and somehow...I still have NO idea how...he got everything in there! (It took a bit of pushing and shoving by JC, his dad, and my dad.) :P We prayed before we left, and all piled into the car. When I say piled I mean piled. John Christian and I were so cramped in the backseat with all of our stuff it was crazy! He had about 6 sq in to put his feet down, and I had none. :P In the backseat we had 3 boxes of evidence, 2 backpacks, 1 purse, 2 totes, 1 pillow, 2 jackets, 1 atlas, a stack of cds, 3 laptops, a charger in the cigarette lighter (this one didn't smoke), a stack of 4 books, and 15 minutes into the trip we had briefs strewn out everywhere. It was madness! We had a whole seat in between us, but we felt like everything/everybody was sitting on top of each other.

By the way, did I mention that this was a 9 hour trip?

So after we did all of our piling, we started going through affirmative stuff. Which consisted of JC cross-exing me....that's always painful...I was so happy when we partnered just so there wouldn't be a chance of us hitting each other, and me having to go through one of his CXs.... ::rollseyes::

After a while we finished, and he asked to see my iPod. Now here is a running joke. I have an iPod Touch, and all of the guys in my club are obsessed with it. Partially because of that, JC has permission to get in my purse whenever he wants to. So every tournament we go to, I can never find my iPod because usually JC or FL or Miss EL (over at thoughtsjotstittles.blogspot.com) has it. (which is okay with me) :)

Anyway, he asked to see it and we ended up playing a word game together.....hahaha that was hilarious! In this game you have 6 letters and you have to guess as many words using those letters as possible. To move on to the next level you have to guess the word that uses all the letters, and you have a time limit that is ticking down the entire time. So here we are laying across backpacks in the seat between us, heads practically together, looking at this little screen hollering out random words. It sounded something like this: "Ring!" "NO! There's no 'g' or 'r'! But, I know! Fine!" "No, no, no, no, no!! I know what the 6 letter word is!!" "OH, oh, oh me too!! It's 'finance'! "O_o No!!! That's 7 letters, you're missing an 'n', it's 'Fiancé'!!!" "Oh! You're right!!!" "Hurry!! before the time runs out!!!" We had waaaay too much fun playing that! My parents said: "Do you think they're having fun, or are they about to kill each other???" Hahaha.

Next we stopped at a gas station to fill up and for a potty break. ;) Mama and I went on inside while the men stayed at the car to fill it up. As I walked inside I noticed a man beside the door smoking, and….teetering… :-/ I wanted to quickly go inside figuring that he was probably drunk. My mom was a few steps in front of me, enough that she had just gone inside. Right before I reached the door he got between me and it. He sorta circled me, looking me over from head to toe then gave me a big, sickening, almost-toothless grin. My mom was in the restroom, at this point and I figured it would be a good idea to find someone in my group to stay with, particularly my dad or John Christian. So, I squeezed past him and got in the store. About that time my mom came out of the restroom. I told her what had happened so we scanned the store to see if we saw him. Sure enough, he had come into the store too. Well I went into the restroom, and when I came out the men were standing there, too. We told them the story and after that I didn’t go into a service station without Daddy or JC. We climbed back into the car and dug for the cookies.

Now in all of that digging I made the statement that I was going to have to move some things, because I could not continue to sit on my legs for the rest of the trip! So, we rearranged the back seat, and I had a little spot to put my feet down on the floor. But, to have the spot, now I had a pile of “stuff” up against the door to the left of me. To the right of me, John Christian had to pile all of his “stuff” up. So I was in a sort of box.

A little later we stopped for lunch at......Wendy's!!! (It's our tourney restaurant.) That was a very interesting experience getting out of my “box,” but I managed to climb out of my door. My parents were then able to witness just how much JC eats. ;) We had a nice lunch, and the four of us had a great conversation discussing debate theory. (I promise, there are times that we really do talk about other things….I think…) Anyway, we finished and went back out to the car….and this is where my “box” started causing me problems… I opened the door and there was a wall of “stuff” (i.e. 2 debate boxes, 1 laptop, 2 totes, 1 sweatshirt, 1 pillow, a bag of food, a stack of cds, ect.). So I threw my purse over the “wall,” put one foot on the edge of the car, grabbed the inside of the door and started hoisting myself up and over. In the meantime, JC had gotten in on his side. My sunglasses were falling from the top of my head, so I told him to take them off of my head. He did and I looked up to see him wearing them….yep he was wearing my brown, trendy, rhinestone-studded sunglasses.  I got so tickled that I lost my hold and started falling taking everything with me. John Christian grabbed my hands and the stuff and, through a LOT of laughing and struggling, pulled me and the stuff the rest of the way in. xD It was hilarious!

After that, we took a nap. We had both been up till about 2:00 that morning and had gotten up around 5:00…needless to say we were pooped!

A couple hours later my parents attempted to wake us up for quite some time. But due to earbuds and music we didn’t know that. :P They finally got me awake and I managed to wake up JC. We were getting closer to where we needed the GPS (so we could find our host house). They had pulled the GPS out but it wasn’t working… -_- Of course it wasn’t… So after a few tries we finally got the address in JC’s iPhone, and we made it the rest of the way without any trouble.

We got to the house where we were host housing. We pulled in to see a 15 passenger van sitting in the driveway. (Don’t you just love homeschoolers!?) We went to the door and knocked and Mrs. H answered the door. We came in and were introduced to 8 children, both parents, and a grandmother. We were informed that the 9th child was out of state- but would be coming later that week. (Shall I say it again- don’t you just love homeschoolers!?) They were the nicest family! So we unloaded the car…..actually, let me rephrase that….Daddy, JC, and 3 of the H boys unloaded the car. They had rearranged what kids were sleeping in which bedrooms, so that I had a little room to myself with a mattress on the third floor, JC was on a couch on the fourth floor to himself, and my parents had a full bedroom with a double bed on the third floor.

Now the H Family had a piano in their living room. JC is one of the most avid pianists you'll ever meet. (And he's very good.) So, every day while we were there, he would play. One morning, we were ready before everyone else, so he played and we sang (in harmony) hymns together. That was so much fun!

Anyway, we went to sign in and script submission that night. This was my first time personally experiencing script submission. My script went through fine, thank goodness, and we got registered without any difficulty. We then went for some supper. We went to a gourmet pizza place. Let me tell you- they have some amazing pizza!

We got done there, went back to the H’s house, and got ready for bed. JC and I ended up staying up really late CXing each other some more. :P We went to bed, got up the next morning, got ready, and headed for the church. We got there, put our stuff in the student area and went to the sanctuary for announcements. And now, let’s rewind almost exactly a year…

Almost the exact same dates that we were in Annandale, VA in March of 2012, we were in Fredericksburg, VA in March of 2011. It was the second day of competition, and I was walking outside to watch Mr. JT give his HI (speech) in another building. It had started lightly drizzling so I was trying to hurry. I got to the door, and there was a guy in front of me. (I have no clue who it was and don’t remember him.) But he opened the door, turned around, made eye contact with me, walked into the building, and slammed the door in my face. (What is up with that?? Definitely not typical of NCFCA….?) Well I was standing there a little shocked and another guy walked over and said: “I don’t know who that was, but he’s a jerk. I’m sorry about that.” And then he opened the door for me. (See, gentlemen, still exist.) We ended up introducing ourselves and finding out that we were the same age, and from the same state. After that, I had no idea who he was, or what happened to him.

Now, let’s go forward a year, and step into 2012, once more. :) As I was walking out of the building with the student area to go to the building with the sanctuary, the same stinkin’ thing happened to me again!! A guy slammed the door in my face! Well, I was thinking: Déjà vu?. About that time, a guy opens the door for me, from the outside and says: “I don’t know who that was, but I’m sorry.” I walked through and thanked him. Then did a double-take…..everthing came back….Whoa! Wasn’t that the same guy?! I said: “T________?! T_______ G_______?!” He said: “Cayla?!” (Apparently he remembered, too.) Well it turns out it was the same guy. :P (What are the odds?) John Christian walked over and I introduced him, and then Mr. TG (over at http://tgoodwinblog.blogspot.com/) introduced his partner Mr. SP. Now, starting at that tournament we all became good friends, and hung out at a lot at the tourneys. :)

Announcements went well, and we came back in the student area to wait for postings. Debate postings went up and we debated our first round. We had a lot of fun! :D After the round was over I was stepping off of the elevator when I heard: “Cayla! Cayla Miller!” I saw a hand waving above the crowd. I knew that voice all too well! I ran over and saw Mr. JA!! My best friend- that is a guy. :D I said “J_____ it’s so good to see you! And stuck out my hand. He said: “Seriously? A hand shake?” And gave me a big hug. Now it just so happens that he goes to school (college) near there, is a homeschool/NCFCA alum, and they were on spring break. So he came to the tournament to judge. :) (I did know that he was coming before he came.) I hadn’t seen him in a year and one month.

That night we came back to the H Family’s house and the K Family came back from the tournament with us, as well. :) So, are you following this? You want to know how many people we had in one house? We had three families for a grand total of……ready for this?.......23 people, in one house… :P We had a ball! xD Three homeschool families living together- is wonderful! So when the Ks got there, we switched around the sleeping arrangement again. :P It worked out well. :)

The second night after competition we all came back to the house. And it was voted that everyone would do their speeches for everyone else. We had the best time doing that! Everyone’s speeches were so good!
Mr. JA ended up coming with his roommate all three days, and we got to hang out and talk, which was a ton of fun! :)

The entire tournament was a blast! I got to spend time with JC, Mr. JA, Mr. SP, Mr. TG, Mr. GL, and Miss JP! :D (TP is male-dominated…lol) I ended up breaking in my speech, and qualifying to Regionals! (Which was a huge shock!) Debate went very well too! :)

We got back to the house after the awards ceremony and spent the night at the H’s house one last time. We got up the next morning (Sunday) and (through a lot of perseverance) packed the car again. :P

On our ride home we discussed a lot of things related to debate and the tournament. And watched one of the rounds from that tourney. And slept….a lot. :P

Overall, this was probably my favorite qualifier! I had so much fun with everyone, and was tremendously blessed!

Again, I’ve attached my favorite pictures from this tourney at the end of this post. Check them out! :)

Check in (hopefully) soon for…

Trip #3! Gastonia, NC. We’re on “Home Turf”! And everyone is here! :D

Always in His Arms,


Friday, May 18, 2012

NCFCA Tournaments-- This is the time of our lives -- Don't take it for granted -- These memories will be with us forever! -- Part I

Dear Readers,
So, when I told you that I would be updating on many happenings at the Miller Homestead- one of the things I told you I would post about is funny tournament stories. This post as well as the next three will be devoted to these stories. Each tournament will receive it own post. :)

So far John Christian (my debate partner) and I have been to one tournament in January, two tournaments in March, and one tournament in April. Not to mention I have one more tournament coming up in June. Needless to say, it's been a very full spring semester. We have traveled almost every month to Virginia! (Hahaha! The things you do for speech and debate...)

These trips have typically been between 7 and  9 hours.....on trips that long, with a group of teenagers, many things can happen..........


The first tournament, in January, was in Norfolk, VA. That trip we went up in two mini vans. We had Mrs. C and Mrs. P in one van with Miss AC, Miss SP, and a little brother. In the other van we had Mrs. B; then the rest of the teenagers- Mr. FL, Mr. RB, John Christian, and me. Soooooo yeah, I was in the guys van....(how gross is that??) ;)

On the way up we got into many arguments (as we normally do, we all love each other that much :P). But the main argument was the principles/definitions of dating v. courtship....boy that was an interesting one thanks to Mr. RB... It all started because I was sitting in my little seat (having just finished knitting) reading my little book I had brought with me...Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship. (The sequel to Josh Harris' I Kissed Dating Good-Bye.)

Well after John Christian and I kept a fist fight from almost breaking out between RB and FL (not literally, but it was getting heated) we stopped at a rest stop right over the NC/VA line. We all got out of our two mini vans (quite stiff) and used the rest room/got snacks/stretched. (Well, the girls stretched. The guys decided to run up and down the hill, climb trees, do push ups on the sidewalk, and pull ups on the bathroom stalls.) After everyone had finished their, um, ::cough:: exercises- we all got back into the mini vans and were about to drive off, when Mrs. C had the horrid realization that we were missing her son (the little brother). What a worse feeling than losing an 11 year old boy at a strange rest stop?! We all got back out to look for him. The guys found him a few minutes later, where they had left him, in the rest room. ::rollseyes:: Good job guys... :P

We got back in the vans and had been driving about an hour when, while I was knitting (I had decided it would perhaps be best if the book went back in my bag), I smelled something funny. I turned around to see RB's head SMOKING! Trying not to scream where Mrs. B would swerve off the road, I said: "John Christian!" As if on cue, he immediately turned and unplugged a laptop charger adapter plugged into the cigarette lighter. (It was right behind RB's head and was smoking, that's why it appeared that RB's head was smoking :P) That adapter was not plugged back in for the rest of trip....

After we got past that minor calamity we drove a few hours more and stopped at Wendy's for supper. After the girls had eaten all we wanted we gave our leftovers to the "dispose-alls" (aka John Christian and FL) and went on our way.

We finally got to Norfolk without anymore trouble, and arrived at Script Submission on time. The boys went on in, and I stayed behind to walk in with the girls. The girls started looking for their scripts, and couldn't find them. When suddenly they realized that they had packed them IN their suitcases. Sooo, there we were three teenage girls, at 8:00 at night, in downtown Norfolk, in the parking lot of the Federal Credit Union, with the back of the van open, two suitcases on the ground open, digging through t-shirts, socks, and underwear trying to find the folder with the scripts in them!

After we found the scripts, we went in to submit the speech scripts. Every one's went fine....until we got to the girls' scripts...SP's printer had apparently decided to print their duo script in dark green instead of black. AC's script had apparently the wrong citation formatting. The duo script was accepted anyway (thank goodness) but the Persuasive (AC's) script had to be changed. Now, being the nerdy debater I am, I normally bring a small printer with me for emergency printing. That poor printer had seen so many 64 page briefs run through it that it had finally conked out on us....so no printer... AC had her computer, with her script, but no printer. Script Submission said "have it fixed and printed by tomorrow morning, or no competition". We hoped that the hotel had a printer we could use.

So, at that point it was 9:00 and we were dragging ourselves into the hotel we were staying in. We checked in and had three rooms right beside each other. Everyone picked their rooms (two girls rooms, one boy room). As soon as I started bringing "stuff" into our room, I immediately recognized the smell of nicotine- despite the fact that this was a "no-smoking-room". Being severely allergic, we had to trade rooms with the guys. Which meant taking everything out of one room, and putting in the other, and vice versa. That hall was cramped, plus we had two carts parked outside of our doors, which made it even tighter. I think they were about to kill me, and rightly so, considering that they were doing the majority of the moving. Sorry guys! (We were still looking for stuff in each others' rooms the last day.)

Once we got settled Mrs. B went downstairs to the Lobby to see what was to be done about poor AC's script being printed. She, in the meantime, was in her room working like a mad-man so very patiently changing her entire citation format. Mrs. B came back up to inform us that the hotel had no printer available for customer use. On top of that, they said they didn't have a printer, at all. Mrs. C and AC called Dr. C (AC's dad) and he looked up the closest Staples (I think) and told them how to get there. Now that it was about 10:00, of course they were closed. After AC finished re-formatting her speech she downloaded it onto my flash drive, and the next day before competition, they were able to go to Staples and have it printed.

Now, I know what you're thinking....nothing else could possibly go wrong for these people...I assure you, for PSSDC, it absolutely can!

We got up the next morning (first day of competition) to find that RB's cold had returned, and he was pretty sick. Not only that, but FL had forgotten his suit jacket. Thank the Lord that John Christian and FL are the same size, and one competes only in debate, and the other only in speech...they were able to share John Christian's jacket.

Later that day, Mrs. B went to the drug store to get some medicine for RB, because he was so sick. The druggist asked for his birthday. Poor Mrs. B was so stressed and frazzled that (having 5 boys) she couldn't remember out of two birthdays, which one was his. (Which made the druggist wonder about these unsocialized homeschoolers...) She finally settled on one (which happened to be the wrong one) and got the medicine. For the rest of the tournament RB was so stopped up, he couldn't hear a thing! He was very miserable, and we all felt very sorry for him. :(

The second day of competition, I woke up....sick. (I know you don't believe me, but it's true!) I was so sick I could hardly talk, much less speak. I had a terrible cough, and could not breathe even a little bit. Now, remember this a speech and debate tournament....the whole purpose is to speak. So there was me and RB as sick as you could ever want anyone to be... Together, we lived on cough drops! I really don't know what I would have done without him! There was one very crucial debate round I was going into, and had forgotten my cough drops. I ran back to the student area and started frantically looking for my bag of cough drops. I couldn't find them! I was going to be late for my debate round, and this was out-rounds! (You can not be late for out-rounds.) So, RB was sitting there and (coughing his head off) he gave me his bag of cough drops. Now, you have to understand here, he was sicker than I was, and he gave me his only bag of cough drops! He had to go for a full hour and a half without his cough drops! I don't know how I would have made it without them! (Thanks, RB!!! I know you read my blog.) :D

I forgot to mention that the first day of competition SP had also come down with a bad cough. (Lord help us!) 

Now the last day of competition I woke up and said: "Mrs. B? I haven't been this sick in a long time! I need help! I literally can not breathe...at all!!" I was so scared at this point. Every breath was such a struggle. I couldn't talk, I had absolutely no voice. My tournament mommies, Mrs. B and Mrs. P, were so wonderful they just took care of me, and did everything in the world you could imagine to loosen all of that in my chest. (When your own mom/dad can't go to a tournament, we kids call the mom/dad who took us, our "tournament parent".) ;) When we finally got to the tournament that morning, a little late for annoucments- thanks to me, I sat down in the pew next to my debate partner, and he made it very clear that if I was too sick to debate then he would go to the tournament director to say that we forfeited all further rounds. :-O These tournaments mean a lot to him, and he just said he was willing to forfeit for a runny nose?! Haha! (You guys know what I mean.) I assured him that no matter how sick I was, I was going to debate!

Now let's rewind a bit to the day before we were supposed to leave for this tournament....

I had finished packing all of my suits, food, and (most importantly) evidence for the tournament. I did need to talk to my debate partner about one minor change in our affirmative case. I had texted him and asked him to give me a call, when he could. He replied that he needed to talk to me as well, but it would be very late since he had a basketball game that night (which I had totally forgotten about). I said that was fine, not to worry about the time, but to just call me when he could. Later that night at about 10:00 I got a text from him saying that something had happened in the game, and to brace myself. I was thinking: "Oh no! What has happened to him!?". He then went on to tell me that during the game, in an attempt to block, one of the guys on the other team had intentionally elbowed him in the mouth...so hard, it knocked him to the floor. Now, John Christian has braces- so quite a few teeth were lose, one was hanging in there because of the braces, one brace had been knocked off, and his lip was cut. Not to mention his whole mouth was swollen, and he was in a lot of pain! He said he didn't know what he was going to do, but somehow he was going to speak at that tournament. About half an hour later, I got a call from his mother. She had talked to his dad, and he had told her that I had better be informed of the situation. I told her that he had texted me, and I did know what was going on. She said the game had been a couple hours away, and it would be awhile before he got home. She also said that she was going to take him in for an emergency orthodontist appointment the next morning, where hopefully they would fix him up, and he would be able to leave that same day for Norfolk, VA. Let me tell you, that night some serious praying went on at the Miller Homestead. I was more worried about him than the tournament. From what his mom had told me, it did not look good. At about midnight, I decided I might as well go ahead and lay down, when they called me (which they had promised) they'd called me. So, surprisingly enough, I fell asleep rather quickly. At about 1:00 a.m. my cell rang, it was John Christian! I had to really listen to hear what he was saying, considering that the right side of his mouth was about 3 times its normal size. We talked slow and got through what we needed. (Both of us praying inside that the orthodontist would be able to patch him up!) The next day he texted me and said he was going in for his visit, and to pray! Half an hour later he texted me and said he was out and the doctor had fixed everything! (Now his lip was still cut and swollen.) We were all so very thankful! Prayers had been answered, once again!

Ok......so! The troubles we had still are not over! Haha!

For about a month before that tournament my mother had been sick, I mean REALLY sick! We're still not totally sure what it was, but we think it was probably the flu. This whole time she had been saying she was going to go with us to this tournament. Of course, she ended up not being able to go, so I spent the the 2 days before we left racking my brains trying to think of a way to get John Christian and me down to Hickory! Thank goodness for Mrs. W! I don't know what we would have done. She picked me up, drove all the way down the mountain, picked up my debate partner, and took us on to Hickory! She was a saint!

Now, let's fast forward back to the actual tournament. By human standards that tournament should have been awful! We all should have been miserable, ready to give up, at each other's throats, and in general having a terrible weekend. But you see, we weren't operating on human standards, oh no, we were operating on God's standards! Our little group of 10 was surrounded by prayer. Despite all of the hardships most of us broke in our events. Despite the fact that AC's script had been wrong, she won Persuasive. Despite the fact that RB was terribly sick, he broke with his Humorous. And despite the fact, that according to any medical doctor John Christian and I shouldn't have been able to speak (due to a busted mouth and no voice) we broke, and during all of our rounds while we were speaking you couldn't tell that a thing was wrong with either one of us! Not to mention that we all had a lot of fun! God was at work in our little group, and He still is!

Soli Deo Gloria! May we Praise Him when we Win and May we Praise Him when we Lose!

There are many more stories I could tell you from this trip....but, well....those are just between me and our club...and they'll stay that way... ;) (Some of them are a wee bit embarrassing...)

At the bottom of this post, I have posted a few of my favorite pictures from this tournament. Check them out! :)

Check in again for a continuation of Tournament Stories!

Next time....

Trip # 2- Annandale, VA! 4 people in a little car. First time host housing. Meeting two people who become great friends. A  friend visits from PHC. And much, much more!

Always in His Arms,


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"To Provide For the Common Defense"

Dear Readers,

I find my mind dwelling a lot on the military, lately.... Perhaps, because as a homeschooler I have friends who are older and younger than me, and many of the young men I know are leaving or have already left to serve their country.

I find myself using military lingo now. :P I am now caught in the midst of branch rivalry. What is the best branch? Which is more honorable? Which is tougher? Who will prepare you better for special ops? ;) (Yes, that was just for you AP.) Considering that, at the moment, I know young men in/going into the Marines, Navy, and Air Force there is a lot of rivalry with these guys trying to get me to admit that their branch is better. ;) (Although, I have to say, I've always stood by Marines...that's not gonna change, sorry guys...)

To think I should live to see the day when I am wishing some of my closest friends good-bye, and as they walk away wondering: "Will I ever see them again?".

I am so very proud to know so many wonderful, strong young men willing to stand up and fight for Liberty, to fight for the Honor of their country. My heart swells with pride when I see someone in uniform. My heart soars to know that these young men are willing to put their life on the line to insure that me and my children's Rights remain unhindered by outside invasion.

And yet...I am forced to live with the fact that though I am proud of them there is also the sadness of being a young woman left behind to wonder if they will return home. The sadness of knowing that their childhood is over; that my childhood is over. That we have now grown so much that we are old enough to tell each other good-bye and go our separate ways in life. That now I'm no  longer at the age where I attend a funeral of a young soldier who's life was cut short and ask a young woman sitting on the pew what he was like. But am now at the age where everyday I pray to God that that's not me sitting on the pew telling the child what he was like when we were growing up. 

I know that this is a melancholy post but its something that has been on my mind for about a year now, and I had to get it out.

So, tonight, please say a special prayer for all of our service men and women; and that God would bring them safely back to their families' and friends' loving arms...

May God bless our country! And may we never take for granted what those before us have fought and died to protect!

Always In His Arms,


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kindred Spirits

Dear Readers,

I informed you, in my last post, that I was going to update on other happenings at the Miller Homestead. So here I am!   ...Reaching old friends.

About a month ago I was looking for random people on facebook. I was thinking back to all of the friends I have had over the years, seeing if they had accounts...

Before my parents started homeschooling, they got in touch with a local group. That group was the West Lincoln Home Educators. I don't know what we would have done without them! My parents knew less about homeschooling than I did about the square root of pi.

One particular family befriended my parents. The P Family had three kids. "Two of them" were homeschooled. (Though we all know the youngest was learning plenty.) ;) The four parents went on to be fantastic friends! They all helped each other, so much in many different aspects. Not to mention, we all lived in Vale, NC.

Sooo, what about us kids? Did we become fantastic friends? That would be an affirmative! We all grew up together and became close friends....when we were little...

Right after I turned 10 we moved, away...3 hours up the mountain, to be precise. I was excited to be going to the mountains, but sad to leave all of my friends. We had stayed in the West Lincoln group all those years. I had known most of these kids from the time I was about 4-5 'till I was 10! My life revolved around that group. But, as you all know, I am a definite extrovert and didn't have a hard time making friends at our new home. I was happy once again!

But what happened to all of those friends? What happened to the P Family? To me they were like a distant memory. At 10, I was just old enough to start making close, lasting relationships; but not old enough to understand their value, or to keep in touch. I have lost contact with almost every single one of my childhood friends.

Every year, my parents went to our state homeschool conference. And most of the time, all of the Ps were there too. So, our parents stayed in close contact with one another. The Conference was always a "mommy/daddy weekend". So, I stayed behind. Indeed it wasn't till three conferences ago, that I actually went for the first time. By the time I started going, the P Family was no longer going. Their kids were starting to get older, and they were always busy. As a matter of fact, to this day, I haven't seen them for almost seven years...

Remember how earlier, I said that I was on facebook looking for random people? Well here's where that part of the story comes in! I was staring at the search bar watching the cursor blink, trying to think of someone else. When it hit me! The Ps!! I bet I can find them, now! Well I searched for the kids, and sure enough, I found the two oldest. The oldest child is a few years older than me, and doesn't get on very much. But the middle child and I have gotten back in touch.

I feel like I never really knew AP... Growing up A was the quieter one of the three Ps, so I didn't know quite as much about the middle child as I did the other two. I have gotten to know this "middle child" all over again. It has been fantastic! :) So, after seven years of silence we have reconnected- and it has been so much fun!

And guess what? The P Family is coming to the Conference this year, and so am I... So after losing contact with some of the most special friends in my life, that made such an impact on me early on, and not having seen them for seven years- I will once again be with those dear childhood friends, to reminisce.

So, if you have any old friends that you've lost contact with, I encourage you now to try and find them! Get in touch with them! After all...you never know when you're going to find that "Kindred Spirit"......

Always in His Arms,


Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't kill me/Tourneys/Death/A Happy Ending.

Dear Readers,

My, my, my, how long has it been since I posted...? I don't even remember.

So many things have happened! Let me see if I can begin to tell you all that has..............(some things will have posts all to themselves)

Tournament season has obviously been in full-throttle. Now, we're in what you might call the "play-offs". ;) My debate partner and I are at the moment prepping for Regionals. God has truely blessed me in this year's tournament season! The second qualifier that we went to, this year, we stayed with another NCFCA family. It was truely a fantastic experience. :)

On a morbid note, two family friends have died within the past month. And another is dying as I speak. While we rejoice with a mourning family that a Believer, so strong in the Faith, has gone on to be with the Love Of Her Life; it is truely a sobering thought that the other was most likely not so fortunate...

As for all the other happenings at the Miller Homestead...

Check in later to read about: Research days, tournament specifics, reaching old friends, Easter Sunday, funny tournament stories, the adventures of host housing, and much, much more!

May you rest in the Arms of a Risen Savior!

Always In His Arms,


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Haven't posted in a while....

Dear Readers,

           I'm very sorry I haven't posted in over a month. That is horrible! But, as most of you that read my blog are NCFCA competitors or NCFCA alumni, you know how busy it is once tournament season starts. And our first (big) tournament is this month, so I've been very busy writing briefs, building up our Affirmative backup, coaching our club, and writing/memorizing/practicing speeches.
            So, first of all, Happy New Year!!! Can you believe it?! 2012! At church, Sunday, (the 1st, of course) one of our Elders opened service. He looked down at another Elder (who is also a retired pastor) sitting on the front row and said: "Well, Bro. ________, can you believe it...?...we've lived to see 2012 roll around! :) I'm glad they have! They add so much to our church!
            I sat, this morning, in our big wingback chair (that because I'm so small feels like it's hugging me) :P in front of a roaring fire, watching it pour snow, (we have 6-8" on the ground) drinking hot chocolate, (out of my new initialized travel mug, my parents gave me for Christmas) and reading. As I sat there I thought about all of the memories of 2011. Memories are one thing that no one can take away from me. I will have those to hold onto, hopefully most, if not all, of my life. They are mine to keep! Now, mind you, they aren't all "good" or "happy" memories, but they are mine. :)
            Before Christmas, I said I was going to dedicate a post to special/favorite/general memories from my 2011. So here they are....not in any particular order....well, they are in a particular order: as I think of them... ;)

1) Meeting my dear and wonderful friend Miss SBJ over at His Dixie Daisy! You have truely been a blessing and light in my life, dear. Thank you for being my twin sister! ;) <3 Here is some complimentary chocolate.     ~Your Fellow 40's fan
2) Getting to go down to my best friend's (Miss EJL over at Thoughts Jots and Tittles) house to work on my Humorous Interpretation. It was a blast! And thank you to Miss AGC, Mr. Ry.Bl., and Mr. Fl.Mi.La. for all of your help! You are all great "interpers," and a ton of fun. :D I learned a lot. ;)
3) Debate Camp at PHC!!! (Patrick Henry College) You were soooooo much fun! :D (I'm a total nerd, I know...) Meeting all of those wonderful homeschool kids, from all over the country, even Hawaii. Learned great life lessons from our fantastic counselors. Had one of Dr. Michael Farris' daughters for a counselor, which was amazing!!! ;) And I got to know my dear friend, Miss JSP, much better :)
4) Getting to know a dear friend of mine, Mr. Jo.A., so good that we can spend an entire chat reliving all of Princess Bride, by quoting the movie back and forth. :P ;) You've been a great friend! I wish you all the best in life! You always keep it fun! ;) And here are some Jelly Beans. :)     ~Your Sister
5) Joining a High School Chorale!
6) Teaching violin to the lovely R. family, as well as being their farm-sitter, and family baby sitter. ;) I miss all of you so much! You are all so sweet and talented! Miss JER, Miss JGR, and "Little E," I miss all of your smiles, since you moved. And I miss you calling me "Miss Cayla". ;) You were all little blessings to my life! <3
7) March 12th. The day of fun! Miss EJL, came up to my house, and we spent the weekend together! That Saturday, we went with the lovely W. family. We went to see the Red Badge of Courage performed on stage. Had a picnic lunch. Went to Starbucks. Then went to Bay's Mountain (the wildlife preserve) and got to see quite a few animals native to the mountains, including a beautiful pack of wolves. We got to witness to a Gnostic. :D Then we went to Taco Bell! And since you had never been there (?) you got a free meal. :) (That man was so funny.) The W. family then dropped us off at the house, and we commenced to staying up talking until around 4 a.m. And taking showers at 2 a.m. :P Getting up, driving down the mountain to your church, and getting to see my first debate coach for the first time, since she graduated, almost a year before! :) It was a great weekend...
8) Spending two nights, and three days with Miss EJL at her house, this time, in July!
9) Spending a ton of time with my other best friend, Miss LJW!!! :D <3
10) Breaking to Regionals at Fredericksburg, VA and getting 2nd speaker....(two places above my coach) ;) :P
11) My lovely debate partner (Miss AGC) and me beating one of the biggest teams, and getting our socks knocked off!!!! ;D
12) Finding the closest thing, last year, you can get to the impossible "flawless case". <3
13) Getting to travel 7 hours back from the Fredericksburg tournament with my mom, Mrs. B, my partner Miss AGC, and my coach Mr. PJB. ;) Y'all are too much fun!
14) Finding a great debate partner, this year: Mr. JCK. :D
15) My sixteenth birthday party!!! It was a ton of fun! All those great kids, and adults, and food, and games! :D
16) Receiving my very own Hope Chest for my 16th birthday!
17) Getting my Learner's Permit!
18) Realizing that I have the best friends, anyone could ever ask for!!! :D <3 I love all of you!

              So, I have written a rather large post, and I hope all of you have enjoyed it!
Oh! Another close friend of mine, Mr. DT, has started a blog. It is a very cool blog! I think you would enjoy it. So, check it out: Sifting Through My Thoughts

              New Year Blessings!

Always in His Arms,