Welcome my new Blog Around the World friends!
(and any Heart of the Matter friends that might visit…added very late, of course)
I am so, so, so glad that you are coming to visit me today in NC.
Just so you know, I had to spell check how “y’all” was spelled
since I am still a “you guys” kind of gal.
I was born and raised in the North (Go Packers), but have been a southern girl for 13 years, and wouldn’t change a thing.
These past few days have been one of those ‘do I even have a moment to breathe” kind of weeks, and so here I am ALL excited to have my new BATW friends come hang out, and my post is going to be…well, a bit boring….just tellin’ ya.
So, yep, I am cheating…and welcoming you personally before I show off this UN-BE-LIEVE-ABLE state of ours.
Click below to “meet me.”
I know, I never watch them either, but it’s only a minute.

(I have been in the middle of saving money on grocery/couponing posts, so for you new friends who want to meet my family and me, please click on older posts at the bottom of the page. This is a tour of NC, right, so it wouldn’t be good if it was all about me.)

Ok, now that we have been formally introduced, let me highlight a few of our favorite spots.

N.C. is a state of incredible variety.
We live in the northern part of NC, and within 1 hour we can be here –
the marvelous mountains of the Blue Ridge

or drive another hour into the mountains and find this beauty in Asheville.
The Biltmore House in Asheville is the largest home in America
The Biltmore House is the largest home ever built in America, and it is so far beyond fantastic that I won’t even begin to describe it. You must come see it personally, and then come see me. I have always wanted to open a bed and breakfast, but then reality hits and I realize that I would have to have my house clean….all the time, and laundry picked up….all the time, and my dream shatters, since that will never happen.
But I can give you a nice cozy bed and bountiful breakfast. πŸ™‚
That counts, doesn’t it?

The beaches of NC/SC are breathtaking (well, maybe not as in Hawaii breathtaking, but I’ll take them non the less :), and depending on who is driving in the family, we can be there in three hours…our front door to bare feet buried in the sand.
Ahhh- wish I were there now!
(oops, don’t get me wrong, of course you come first, but ….you know what I mean).

Since we didn’t get the opportunity to go to the beach this summer – yes, I know, no lectures.
It’s only 3 hours away , we should have no excuse. I hear you!
Ok, I got that little guilt off my chest so I can go on. The Lord graciously gave us an oasis within walking distance from our house. We live minutes away from this lovely lake.

That’s not our new found treasure – we’ve always known there was a lake and my boys do bike to it, but without a boat, it makes the water sports non existent since there is no accessible beach….until we found this…..hmmm….it’s a path….that leads to this….
A 30 foot high rope swing that is nestled in a cozy, deserted cove.
The rope swing is “famous” on the lake, and we have heard about it for years.
Yep, even spied it a few times when we were on our friends’ boats,
but little did we know that we could access it on our very own two little feet.
Talk about some boys’ summer time dream!
We can take the whole family, and the girls just swim in the shallow cove – after they risk their lives climbing down the cliff to get to it.

I am so thankful for my son who graciously took these pictures as we drove around today. I ended up only popping in the house for 30 minutes between 7:30 am and 9:15 pm,
and was in crunch mode.
As we drive, I realize that our spot in the country is also a mixture of beauty and bedlam because right next to enormous houses like this…..

You might have something like this….
(This is where my husband insists I must say something about NASCAR since NC is all about Nascar and basketball), I explain to him the fact that I have 5 minutes to finish typing up the blog post so here goes…the famous Nascar Driver Kevin Harvick lives here.
Right down the road from us.
I gawk at his house, and try really hard not to have a “keep up the Jones” mentality every time I drive by.
Well, I guess this time it would be “keep up with the Harvicks” and keeping up with him would be really hard, wouldn’t it? I hear he’s REALLY fast!

It looks to me like he tried to copy the Biltmore….I’ll take this impersonation any day.
Here is the poor little neighbor of the famous Nascar driver.

Oh, poor neighbor. It’s rough! And yep…I have to drive by these houses EVERY DAY!!
That’s character building for you.
The irony is that I also drive past these houses every day.
Yep, beauty and bedlam.
I love country living. It does express the real US to me.
Everyday they hang their clothes on the line.
What a pain, but I bet they sure do smell splendid.
My son zoomed in on a bunch of their undies, and my kiddos thought it was hilarious. They were cracking up in the back seat, along with MANY photos of people driving by in cars. They would zoomed in and caught many people doing some very weird things while they were driving.
Can you tell we got a new camera with a great lens?
I now understand how paparazzi can catch people without their knowledge…we definitely got a few of those today.
I won in the battle of “to post or not to post” question.

And down the road, our neighbor’s sweet lovely log cabin….it’s SO cozy!!
And the gentleman built it himself 40 years ago.
Another few castles I pass on a regular basis.
And since my son is so proud of the shots from the van window,
I can’t crush his spirit by deleting them.




Most of you probably know that NC is famous for Furniture and Tobacco, but do you know what tobacco actually looks like?
Here it is….a whole field full…. and it’s worth a whole lot of money.
The house with the underwear?
Many of the farmers live in “shacks” but are sitting on millions in land/crops.
It’s really very interesting to learn about this industry.
Old abandoned tobacco barns are littered everywhere in the country.
They have so much character, and I wish I had one on our property.
My brother has one through the woods, so I vicariously live through his.

Are you wondering what this amazing vine is that grows bountifully up and over this tree?
Well, if you live any where in the Southeast, you know it well.
KUDZU, and it’s here for keeps.
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 when countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. Everyone was blown away by Japan’s beautiful arrangement. The love it because it grows normally in their country, but in the warm weather of the south, can you say, “invasive predator?”
It grows 7 feet a week and nothing can control it.
One plant can stretch for 7 miles!
Look closely in the background. Do you see how it’s covering every tree and has already taken over all the open space? That is Kudzu throughout the field, not some wonderful crop that a farmer is growing.


Ok, I am out of time….I have to have this up now…midnight EST, and it’s midnight!!
It’s a race against the clock….don’t we teach our kids about the devastating effects of procrastination?
Sheesh!! Who is their mom anyhow?
Today’s blog was a family event. These next pictures were uploaded here by mistake, but I did take them, so I’m leaving them….Come on back….with my new camera, I will finally have some eye candy for you, and a new and improved blog. Just have to figure it out first.

Thanks so much for coming on by, y’all…..you guys.
Let me know you stopped by and can’t wait to meet you….if we haven’t already. πŸ™‚
Balancing Beauty and Bedlam,
jen

This is like a big P.S.
These are on my windowsill (added from a prior post).
Wait till you see this zoomed in close.
We have no idea what kind of insect it is, but can’t wait for you to help us identify it.
Yes, I vicariously live through my alter ego every week as a 16 year old named “Cammie.”
This was last Sunday as we crammed during our dress rehearsal. Can I just tell you that my memory is not what it used to be? I have become the master of hiding lines in the most creative places….I think some of you designer types call it “creative concealment?” πŸ™‚


Yes, so cheesy….but I am 16……and like, you know, I am like so supposed to be totally…ummm…..like this!

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