Saturday, December 31, 2011


Chauga Narrows

Today my favorite Sarah in all of the world planned a little hiking trip up to "Holler", our favorite place to spend a free day. Our hiking group dwindled down to a small, happy group (Jon ditched us because he decided to go hunting... these boys.). Fortunately our friend Ronnie was brave enough to trek through Walhalla with us. What a fun day!
You can't really see the rapid, but this is the Chauga Narrows which is a NEW
waterfall that Sarah found and it was just beautiful!
I'll bet I have about 500 pictures on my computer that look like this,there is just a
different waterfall behind us. I'm so thankful for these times with Sarah while she's still in the area.
(Grad school is not a fun thought... well, maybe for her, but it means she moves away and leaves me!!)
We are so creative... 
I thank the Lord for bringing Madison into my life. She is a true friend.
Godly friend. Encouragement to me. Find a friend like her!
It is a tough lot in life, but somebody has to hold up the cliff!
This is a better picture of the first part of Chauga Narrows- it's a fun hike and a beautiful
reward at the end of the short trail. Thankful for the grace that continually flows in my life...
Grace upon Grace.
Since it was Ronnie's first time hiking with us, he dunked the Bible and named the falls...
if you ever hike it with us we will share the name. Pretty funny!
I can't exactly tell you what inspired this picture.
But it is cool. (?) :)
Madison and Ronnie had never been to Stumphouse Tunnel, so we had to make a quick stop...
This is our "cool" pose at the back of Stumphouse tunnel. I feel like I was the most
ambitious in this picture... 
Under Isaqueena Falls.
Madi is so cool!
I love this expression! If there were one face that summed up
Sarah's personality, this would be it!
Bull Sluice... once again! Wouldn't be a complete trip to "Holler" without this little stop!
We hiked along the river a little ways in search of Big Foot.
Fortunately nobody fell in the rushing water :), and unfortunately nobody spotted Big Foot.
We did skip rocks, though...

Thankful for another day in creation... for friends, for encouragement in the Word, for waterfalls, for the reminder they are of God's grace that is just flowing, and flowing, and flowing, and flowing....

Friday, December 30, 2011


Elizabeth Gretchen

I'm allowed to be thankful for little Ellie for a few days, right? :) (I know it's a cop out for writing about anything else, but I think it's a PRETTY good one!!!)
We are pretty tight... can't wait to take her hiking, running, kayaking, to get manicures,
sing funny songs with her, read The Cat in the Hat, laugh, talk about her first crush, talk about JESUS!
Oh, little Ellie and I have some great days ahead!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011



Thankful for family. I think these pictures are worth many, many thousands of words, so I will let them speak for themselves!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Elizabeth Gretchen Smetana "Ellie"
12:54pm, 7lb 4oz, 20.5 in long.

Thankful for the safe arrival of our precious Ellie!

She is perfect! (well, as perfect as a little sinner can be ;))

Here the family waits the arrival of the little one. You know seeing all of these people in
the waiting room at the hospital at the SAME TIME equates to dedication!

Daniel was getting excited about his little baby Ellie- "Two thumbs up!"

Benton was getting tired of waiting, but he wasn't going to give up!
Excited to see the little baby!

Dan came out to tell Daniel about his baby Ellie- Daniel was
listening so intensely. 

So the boys wanted to go buy a balloon for Baby Ellie. Auntie Katie and I took them
to the gift shop at this hospital, and this is what they picked out. It now resides
in baby Ellie's room- it swallows up a corner! :)

I. Love. Her.
Thankful for life. What a gift from the Lord!! And what an answer to prayer this little girl is!

Good work, Dan!

Thankful for these ladies- all the way to the 1 hour old one! :)
What an exciting day for the Campbell/Smetana Clan! So thankful all of our family could be in town to celebrate a new life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Carrie's last day pregnant...

Tomorrow is the day Carrie goes in to be induced, and we are all so excited about the arrival of little Ellie. It's just an incredible miracle- LIFE. I'm so excited and anticipating so many great days with my new precious little niece. Sometimes I wonder how I will love another little niece/nephew as much as I love the ones I have already been blessed with (and believe me, I love those little babies a WHOLE lot- if you haven't gathered that by my previous blog posts over the year, well... there might be a problem. ;)), but I am excited to meet her and give her a big squeeze. (Not too big, though. Don't worry!)

This is Daniel's blanket for his little sister. He wanted to sleep
with it and wouldn't let it out of his sight. It will be interesting
to see if he is willing to give it up when the time comes!

Daniel wanted to kiss little Ellie.
So excited for my sister, friend, office-mate :) CARRIE, oh and her husband Dan (thought I'd throw in a quick shout-out since he does have something to do with this whole event) on the arrival of little Ellie! :)

Monday, December 26, 2011


Our Creator is creative!

Thankful for the creativity of  God in nature. Today Sarah and I went hiking and I enjoyed SO much all of the different colors we saw. It's funny because usually in the December months everything is brown and black, but not this year. We have had some crazy weather!

I enjoyed using my new lens from Santa to snap a few shots. Enjoy! (and these pictures are hardly edited... I love my new lens!) Here is some "color" from the day. . .

We brought Dallas along to be our "guard dog"... she barked at
EVERYTHING and NOTHING. It was bad. We need
to either take her more often so she gets used to the whole woods/hiking/other dogs thing,
or she just needs to stay at home next time. :) Oh Dallas!

Grey sky- beautiful!

Good ole' Carolina mud... red clay!
Beautiful day out in the woods! We went to Stumphouse Tunnel (again, right?!) and actually hiked a new trail we've never done. We didn't realize that there are three separate tunnels in that area that were being built as part of the transcontinental railroad, and then the projects were stopped as funding went away.  Pretty neat to find a new little "gem" in your backyard!

And if the hike isn't enough to be thankful for, tonight our sweet neighbors (who have become family to us) came over and we had a great time making homemade pizza.

Putting the toppings on our personal-size pizzas!
All ready to go in!
Sarah Lou monogrammed her pizza :)
Sarah's pizza AFTER... mmmm!

We love Lisa and Alfred!
Shout-out to the best mom EVER! She is such a cute little zebra! :)
After dinner we had to try out Elizabeth's new Wii Dance 3... and
Wii Just Dance for KIDS! What fun!
And to think Sarah and I used to babysit Elizabeth when
she was Daniel and Benton's age. Where does time go?

Precious Kathryn. (I can't stop taking pictures like this!)

Kathryn and Benton are playing with the remote control car that I gave
Benton for Christmas. He loves "whiting mckeen!"
What a day full of gifts from the Lord-- how blessed I am to be related to my best friends. Thankful.