What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

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My Best Nine Instagram Photos from 2016

Today is the last day of the year.  2016 is now behind us.  What a year it has been!!  Wow!!  I couldn’t even begin to put into words how much went down for me in 2016.  There was some incredible highs and some VERY low lows, but I am thankfully able to say that I am blessed and grateful to be here.  I can also say that I am SUPER excited for 2017!!

Somebody posted one of those word search puzzles on Facebook the other day and it said the first three words you see would describe what 2017 was going to be like for you.  While I may be a little nervous about the words I saw I am also excited!

CHANGES, COURAGE, FREEDOM

I wrote back in October that I could feel change on the horizon.  At that time I thought that it was coming soon.  Turns out it didn’t.  Looking back I am SO grateful that change I thought was coming didn’t come just yet.  It allowed me to share some time with those that I love which I may not have been able to had things worked out differently.

Seeing these three words could potentially foreshadow many things that are coming, but sadly at this point I cannot even begin to figure out what that might be.  I will however look ahead to 2017 with courage and hope and pray that those changes and freedom will come as a result of that courage.

Having said that I also did one of those “name test” things that gave me a wise quote for 2017.

“Don’t start your day with broken pieces of yesterday.  Every morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our life.”

That is what I am going to think about as 2017 comes.  Leave the past behind and look forward to the future and make my dreams come true!

I pray the same for anyone who reads this.  As Lily James said as Cinderella…

Have courage and be kind.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Caleb 🙂

Boxing Day

The day after Christmas. 

I often say how depressing this day is for me. On my Timehop today there were so many past posts about how much I hate the day after Christmas cuz it just seems so void to me. It’s like all the hype and excitement is just over. 

Someone said to me that the days between Christmas and New Year’s have absolutely no point to them whatsoever. I have to agree. For me all my Christmas activities usually conclude at midnight on the 25th/26th. 

This year is a little different. I feel every emotion you can think of. Sadness because I’m leaving Alabama and my family to head home to Florida. Excitement because at Disney Christmas lasts until New Year’s Day. There are many Christmas activities I didn’t get to do yet so I look forward to that time. Also excitement about 2017 bringing some needed and exciting change hopefully. 

 New Year’s Eve I’ll be working late so no party this year. 

Every year I say that the 26th through the 31st of December will be a time of positivity for me. This year I need it more than ever. 

Join me and let’s look back on all the good and bad of 2016 and reflect and learn from our past over the next few days and just enjoy the last days of the year. 

Many blessings!!

Caleb 💜

MERRY CHRISTMAS

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas everyone!  I would love to say Merry Christmas to my many readers and followers, but ALAS I don’t have very many.  But for anyone who happens to come across this article today, no matter who you are or what you believe, I pray nothing but good will to you and yours today as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  And as many others celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

I also pray that as your 2016 comes to a close that you can look back and remember and learn from this past year.  Whether it be good or bad.  Then, look ahead to the new 2017 and all the opportunities and adventures that it will bring.

FOR A CHILD IS BORN TO US!  A Son is given to us.  The government will rest on His shoulders.  And He will be called:  WONDERFUL COUNSELOR!  MIGHTY GOD!  EVERLASTING FATHER!  PRINCE OF PEACE! ~Isaiah 9:6

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Christmas Eve Words from Reader’s Digest

I recently discovered Reader’s Digest.  Well I shouldn’t say discovered.  I have always known of it, but I had never purchased one until recently.

This most recent issue had a lot of Christmas and holiday happies as I call them written in.  There was an article about a 5 month Old’s letter to Santa.  HILARIOUS.  But it was full of one liners that I just felt like I should share for the inter webs on Christmas Eve.

“As the holidays turn into a new year, let’s vow to find amusement, mystery, and wonder wherever we can, whether on the other side of the world or in the mailbox at the end of the driveway.” ~Bruce Kelley~

“In our hectic lives, it’s all to easy to forget to express appreciation…”

“Maybe there’s no better gift to give children than the knowledge that they can be weird or awkward and still feel loved just the way they are.” ~Ijeoma Oluo~

“Sadness is like eggnog and parties around the holidays:  In moderation, it’s nothing to fear.” ~Jason Marsh~

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” ~Garrison Keillor~

I pray that everybody have a safe and happy Christmas this weekend and be blessed with abundance of joy in the new year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Caleb 🙂

My People Fund – DollyWood Foundation

I have been posting a lot about Gatlinburg and what has happened in Tennessee and across the South with wildfires.  For several reasons.  One and mainly because I love the south and I love these places.  Also because I want to keep it fresh on people’s minds since the media isn’t covering it as much as it should be in my opinion.

If you’re like me you often are always saying to yourself, “I wish I could help!” or “I wish there was something I could do!”

The great thing is, there IS something you can do!  If you can’t give your time and be there physically to help out you can donate money to help these people rebuild their lives!

One of my idols since my childhood when Mama and I would listen to her in the jeep and sing our hearts out is Dolly Parton.  Not only is she an amazing artist and talent, she is an amazing giver.  She gives back!  In so many ways.

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On the night of Nov. 28, 2016, terrible wildfires affected the Great Smoky Mountains around Gatlinburg, TN where I grew up.  The firefighters, first responders, the Red Cross and many other organizations have done an incredible job in their emergency response efforts.  Now as we look to the future, there are a lot families who will need our help rebuilding and restoring their lives and the beautiful land we all call home.  I’ve always believed that charity begins at home and that’s why I’ve asked my companies to help me establish a fund to assist the victims of the Great Smoky Mountain wildfires in Tennessee. (From the Dollywood Foundation Website).

Immediately after the events occurred in Tennessee, Dolly was right there setting up a special fund through her Dollywood Foundation called the “My People Fund.”  Those choosing to give to this fund have their donations directly sent to victims of this tragedy.  Dolly has pledged to give $1000 a month to these people until they can get back on their feet.  How amazing is that?!

Now if you’re like me and live paycheck to paycheck, you may think you can’t or shouldn’t do this.  The answer is you can.  Think about it this way.  Say you treat yourself once a week to something like a meal at your fav fast food place.  Or maybe you go down to the pub and have a drink.  Maybe you buy a new piece of clothing or an accessory for your technology.  Maybe even a drink at the snack machine, or a song on iTunes.

Whatever it may be, I challenge you to give that little luxury up this week and give that money to those who have lost everything in these wildfires.

For those who don’t have those little luxuries, I also understand your side.  You’re thinking you could use some donations yourself.  I hear you!  For you I ask for prayers.  I ask for good energy.  I ask for good thoughts.  Anything positive you can send to these people who so desperately need some little miracles.  In turn I will lift up prayers and positivity for you.

Dolly does this from her heart because she cares about people.  Especially those in her home state.  I can tell you that if I were in her position I would definitely make some much needed changes in Alabama.  I can only pray that I am one day in a position to do so.

If you feel led to give to the “My People Fund” head on over to the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund Website and give what you can.  No matter what you may think I can tell from experience that every little bit does count!

Let us create a “circle of love” around these people and let them know that we stand with them!

I leave you with this video of Dolly and Jennifer Nettles singing that song last week on “The Voice”

Happy Hump Day!

Smoky Mountain Memories – Dedicated to the People of East Tennessee

I am not from Tennessee. However, I have visited there MANY times. I love the state so much! When I was in high school we would attend the Extreme conference in Gatlinburg every winter. I haven’t been to visit in recent years, but it doesn’t take away the special place that East Tennessee hold in my hear. It’s beauty will never be taken away.

This is one one my favorite Dolly Parton songs. As people continue to search for loved ones and begin rebuilding their lives, I dedicate this to the people of East Tennessee.

Hope you enjoy!

Please visit the Dollywood Foundation “My People Fund” Website to donate and help these fabulous people.

Many blessings!  Be safe and happy this holiday season!

National Media & Gatlinburg

gatlinburg-fire-3I have to say I am frustrated and saddened by the lack of coverage in the national news about what has been going on in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Just because it doesn’t involve terrorism or politics it is STILL a devastating tragedy just like those things are. Thousands of people lost everything. People have lost their lives. What is going on with journalism these days?!

Lord PLEASE let me get my financial issues resolved soon so I can get back into school, get out there in the field of journalism, and make some needed changes!! 

I should say a thank you to HLN’s “Michaela” show for actually going deeper into the story than any others I’ve seen.

When I posted about this on Facebook I had a few comments from people about the issues with media covering some floods in Louisiana.  As well as fires in North Carolina and Georgia.

Seana said…

“I know exactly how you feel! We had the same issue in Louisiana with all the flooding. I’m praying for everyone in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas.”

Rebekah R. said…

“It really is so sad. When California and Colorado were burning, national news cared.  

When southern states were devastated by flooding and now while our Smoky Mountains burn, it’s just mentioned in passing. 

Praying for everyone who has suffered loss and for the brave men and women who are fighting the fires and finding ways to help during this tragedy.”

A comment from Shannon W. read…

“It was pretty bad. I think they have it pretty well contained in North Carolina now. I have to actively search out the local news to find anything. My family is from the mountains but the fires were all still west of them. I know Blowing Rock and parts of Boone were evacuated before Thanksgiving. 
In Georgia people as far south as Atlanta were under some type of warning to stay inside as much as possible because of how thick the smoke from the fires in northern Georgia. My Nana lives there and said she could see it in the air.
I lived in East Tennessee when I was younger so I’m strongly connected to these three states. It’s so sad.”

The south has been under heavy drought conditions and dealing with wildfires for quite some time.  In my home state of Alabama there was no rain for almost three months until a few days ago.

I ask that the media stand up against their own bias and start talking more about these people who are losing there homes, businesses, and lives!

I pray the best for all of them.

If you are in a place to donate money to help all of those effected by the wildfires in Tennessee please go to www.dollywoodfoundation.org and donate what you can.

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Dolly Parton performing on her “Pure & Simple” Tour – Photo: Caleb Graham

Dolly Parton is planning to donate $1000 a month to every family effected until they can get back on their feet.

You can help her.

After being in Orlando when the Pulse attack happened, I know how much these donations mean to people involved.  They can go a lot further than you may think when people give.

Also go visit these places when they get back up and running.  Go visit Gatlinburg.  Go visit Dollywood.  They will need the support of tourists to get their business back so they can continue on.

Many blessings to all.