Archive for the ‘Personal Posts’ Category

Goodbye Old Blue

I have one word for you: SPOILED.

And no, it’s not in reference to food that’s gone bad. In fact, today I don’t have anything to say about food, but rather, I would like to share why the word spoiled so rightfully applies to me.

In high school, when my friends turned 16, they typically had two options: get a job to try to purchase a used car for themselves, or, if they were fortunate, drive their parents old car or whatever else their parents decided to let them drive. I, however, got a Brand. New. Car.
That’s right.
A BRAND NEW CAR. With the works: heated seats, sunroof, great sound system, etc.
You see, my car was being funded mostly by my Papaw, with a little help from my dad. Good Ol’ Roby J. Shelley wanted a car with great safety ratings and very low mileage, and none of the used cars we test drove satisfied him. So, on my 16th birthday, I wasn’t necessarily surprised but pleasantly overwhelmed when I looked out the window to see my sweet Papaw pull into the driveway in a brand new, navy blue Volkswagen Jetta. He laughed as I ran down the sidewalk to him; he instantly handed over the keys and wanted to ride with me as I took it for a spin. We drove around for a little while, and when we arrived back home I hugged his neck and thanked him profusely. You see, he was the kind of Papaw who thought I “deserved it”. What a joke, right? What did I do/have I ever done to deserve such a loving, doting Papaw who has provided so much for me? You have no idea how often I asked myself that question. Yes, I kept up with my good grades. I was a good kid, very involved in school and church and very much a family girl. But did I deserve a brand new car? Well, whether I did or not, I never took it for granted.

And that’s exactly why this week, I shed many tears when I had to part with Old Blue. This car has been with me for 12 years! She’s been to Washington D.C., New York City, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts; she drove me back and forth to Carson-Newman College. We’ve shared many pleasant summer evenings with the windows down and the radio up. She kept me safe and happy, but with nearly 135,000 miles and one problem after the other, it was time to let her go.


It may seem silly to cry over a car, but as I closed her doors one last time, I couldn’t help but flashback to the knowing, excited look on my Papaw’s face as he handed me the keys on my 16th birthday.  It is such a bittersweet feeling when I think about how he has provided for me, even after his death two years ago.  Twelve years without having to pay one dime towards a car payment is nothing short of a blessing, and therefore I acknowledge how spoiled I”ve been by such blessings.  And while I am excited to drive my “new” Honda CRV, I bid farewell to the car that stayed with me through high school, college, dating, and the first four years of my marriage.  Goodbye Old Blue; it was fun while it lasted!

Saturday – Easter Edition

Happy Day Before Easter!

Mrs. Herb here. We celebrated my birthday allllll week long! For my family celebration, I requested my favorite meal be made, and It. Was. Delicious. The picture above is of my plate! YUM!

My dad made beef tenderloin and fixed some burgundy mushrooms, Nana fixed green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, and deviled eggs, and Sister Spice made a wonderful dessert that she shared yesterday- a Chocolate Cream Oreo Pie! It was a fabulous meal. Absolutely perfect. It’s fun when you get to pick your very favorite things!

Chocolate Cream Oreo Pie Recipe

Speaking of love for Oreos, check out Will’s blog at He had some delicious Cookies ‘n Cream Brownies on there earlier this week! You KNOW how much I would love these!

Also if you missed it, check out the Quick Cinnamon Rolls I made earlier this week. Yum!

Anyway, thanks for all the Birthday wishes. I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend celebrating the Resurrection of Christ!! Hallelujah – HE’S ALIVE!

Happy Palm Sunday!

Palm Sunday

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Palm Sunday. It’s very frigid here in Northeast Tennessee with promises of snow this week, so it’s hard to believe that next Sunday is Easter. As you plan your Easter menus, don’t forget about Sweet Potato Casserole, Crock Pot Mac N’ Cheese, and Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie!  Our family goes all out for Easter as we celebrate Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to pay our debt.  Have a wonderful Palm Sunday as we prepare for Holy Week!

Time for a New Year!!!


This time last year, my friend Alex and I were on our way to Dandridge, Tennessee, to fulfill a New Year’s Resolution we had made. Without telling anyone what we were up to (and definitely not my parents or Herb!), we went SKYDIVING for the very first time!

It was SUCH a cool experience! If you have any interest in doing this at all, buck up and DO IT! You won’t regret it!

We went through Skydive East Tennessee, and we had a great experience. Of course, we had to do the tandem jump since we were completely inexperienced, but that was fine by me! I didn’t want to have to worry about what to do with the parachute! It was a fantastic way to say goodbye to 2011!















I don’t have anything THAT adventurous planned for this New Year’s Eve, but I’m excited about it nonetheless. There’s just something I love about wrapping up the prior year and feeling like I have a clean slate for what’s to come. Maybe it’s the accountant in me.

2012 has been a phenomenal year! Herb and I got engaged in March and married in October, and it’s just been a year full of excitement and blessings. We’re looking forward to a great upcoming year as well.

BRING IT ON, 2013!!!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Merry Christmas!

“Peace on the Earth, goodwill to men from Heaven’s all gracious King; the world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing!”
Merry Christmas from Mister and Sister Spice!

Mister and Sister Spice

Merry Christmas from Kiya and Lexi, enjoying their Christmas bones, and Rhea and Fitz, who are about to dig into a bag of catnip!

IMG_2593 (640x480) IMG_2664 (640x480) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas!



It’s such a blessed time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ! How amazing is Emmanuel – “God with us?”

We hope that you all have a fabulous Christmas full of joy and love!

-Mrs. Herb

“Look for the Helpers…”

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

In light of last Friday’s atrocity, instead of a food/recipe post today, I thought I would share the personal experience that makes the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School hit far too close to home.

Some of you may have already seen this sweet picture of Fred “Mister” Rogers, seen above with an adorable little boy (no doubt one of his many fans).

The accompanying quote is what so many people are connecting to right now:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” —Fred Rogers


I know teachers all over the country heard the news from Connecticut and immediately put themselves into the shoes of those faculty members who didn’t even think twice before putting themselves in harm’s way in order to protect their students.  Those faculty members were helpers that sad morning; the police officers, rescue squad, and paramedics were helpers.  The brave principal, who knew she couldn’t call for an official Code Red, was able to turn on the PA system as a last minute, valiant effort to warn her staff and students that Evil had entered the building.  Reports have told about one teacher who, while locked in the bathroom with her students, continually comforted them and told them to wait for “the good guys”.  Victoria Soto, just 27-years-old (the same age as I am) threw herself in front of  a barrage of bullets while her students hid in a closet.   I think Mister Rogers is right; one of the best ways to deal with the pain, anxiety, and fear of the seemingly unstoppable evil that surrounds us is to “look for the helpers.”

This country is full of teachers…teachers who would not hesitate to do whatever it takes to protect their classroom full of 5-year-olds, 12-year-olds, or 18-year-olds.  Teachers are helpers everyday, even if they haven’t had the grave misfortune of experiencing something as heart-wrenching as Columbine, VA Tech, or Sandy Hook.

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law are teachers.

My brother-in-law is a teacher.

My mom is a teacher.

My husband and I are both teachers.  Not only that, but we are teachers who have experienced what it’s like to be in charge of a classroom full of teenagers while under a Code Red lock down.  Thankfully, we had a helper that day who kept an entire building full of students and staff safe from a crazed man with two guns full of ammo.

By Earl Neikirk/Bristol Herald Courier – Sullivan Co. Sheriffs Deputy Carolyn Gudger is the school resource officer at Sullivan Central High School.

This woman was our helper.

On August 30th, 2010, I was just about to begin my lesson with my 2nd period class of juniors when a panicked voice sounded over the Intercom, screaming frantically for a Code Red lock down.  There was cursing in the background (much like reports have claimed of Sandy Hook) and I knew deep down in my heart that something was very wrong.  I was immediately afraid.  As quickly as I could, I grabbed my set of keys and ran to the outside of my classroom door to lock it.  My fear was causing me to tremble, and I clumsily fumbled for the key to turn just the right way.  In the meantime, I grabbed the only student I saw in the hallway.  Bless his heart; he was on his way to the front office to leave for a doctor’s appointment.

But the front office was where the trouble was, for a man was holding a gun to our principal’s head.

Those of us in my classroom, however, did not know this at the time.  Door locked, lights off, some students pressed against the wall, some casually chatting with one another as usual…to be honest, several of my students weren’t phased by anything.  I don’t think some understood the gravity of the situation; some even chose to laugh and giggle as a way to deal with nerves.  Only a few frightened girls were crouched together behind my teacher’s podium, crying.  Then, five thundering shots rang out and echoed through the hallways.

Gunshots.  In our school.

We didn’t know who those bullets were meant for, and thanks to text-crazed teenagers, a million ridiculous rumors were already spreading about the details of the incident.

The true (and short) story is one of quick-thinking, bravery, and courage.  Officer Gudger, our School Resource Officer, was able to talk the gunman down enough to get our principal out of harm’s way, leading to a tw0-person stand off in the hallway. Lt. Steve Williams and Sam Matney were on their way, and Officer Gudger was able to appease the gunman through false promises to give him what he wanted (which was to pull a fire alarm…motives still unconfirmed).   Yet, just about the time the other two officers had arrived and set themselves up around Officer Gudger and the gunman, he was poised to shoot but was, instead, shot in response by the officers.  Those were the shots that echoed through our hallways.

The Sullivan Central High School community knows, without a doubt, that if our wonderful hero had not been there that morning, multiple lives would have been shattered.  Though she doesn’t like the term “hero”, Officer Gudger was certainly the very kind of helper to which Mister Rogers refers.

The whole story is available through these links: (Link Not Currently Working)

Photo by AP Photo/Bristol Herald Courier, Earl Neikirk

As we all move on with our Christmas festivities, may we not neglect to spend some serious time in prayer for a community who wasn’t as fortunate as ours.  Let us mourn for the families of those twenty sweet little children.  Let us look upon those cherub faces whose potential, whose dreams, whose lives were cut far too short.  But also, let our thoughts be with the families and friends of those six “helpers”, and countless others, who did everything in their power to spare as many lives as possible.  And, when attempting to seek solace in a society  overwhelmed by the depravity of man, look for the helpers, and let them serve as a light during dark times.

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”  -Anne Frank







How was your Thanksgiving?


Thanksgiving dinner at Nana’s!

I love Thanksgiving! Herb and I got to spend time with both sides of our family. We actually had THREE amazing meals on Thanksgiving (I’m still not sure how we did it!)

My dad’s side of the family celebrates with brunch, which includes yummy french toast, apple dumplings, breakfast casserole, delicious bacon, and hashbrown casserole! Breakfast feast!

Then for lunch, we get to spend time with Herb’s family, feasting on turkey and all the trimmings! For this occasion I brought a black-bottom pumpkin pie (recipe coming soon!) and it was a hit!

For dinner, we head to my Nana’s house where we haddeep fried turkey fixed by my dad, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls, brussell sprouts, macaroni and cheese, dressing, and desserts! For the desserts, I made a caramel chocolate pecan pie and a cherry crunch cake (recipes soon!)

As you can tell, we ate some extremely delicious food and had a fantastic Thanksgiving spending time with our family!

How was your Thanksgiving???

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with lots of food, fun, and family!

We have been baking up some delicious desserts today to share with our family tomorrow, and we’ll be sharing them with you all very soon!

Friday, Herb and I will be heading to Florida with Sister Spice and Mister Spice to hit up Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa for a few days. Sister Spice and I are huge Harry Potter fans and visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter two years ago, and are excited to go back with our hubbys!

I would like to say that I am thankful for my savior, Jesus Christ, first and foremost. I am also extremely thankful for my husband! It’s been a wonderful first month of marriage, and I am so blessed by him every day! I am especially thankful for my loving family. I am also thankful for my two fluffy kitties, my wonderful friends, delicious food, and many, many, other things!

Give Thanks!!

-Mrs. Herb

What are you thankful for?

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