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LaToya M. Sutton

Just my humble opinion

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.” — 1 Samuel 1:27

“This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” — Psalm 118:23

Little baby Sutton — Coming January 2011!

I have always wanted to go to Biltmore Estate, so when my husband Wayne, along with a few other bloggers, was invited to spend a few days there, I knew there was no way I would miss that trip.

There is a lot I could say about Biltmore because I really enjoyed my time there, but I’ll give a quick summary.

The Inn on Biltmore Estate: This was the hotel where Wayne and I stayed during our time at Biltmore. We had a beautiful view of the mountains from our room. The hotel does a great job of carrying on with the feel of Biltmore. You feel more like a guest in the house than at a hotel. The great thing about staying in the Inn was being able to catch the shuttle to all the attractions on site. And the breakfast buffet was awesome!

Biltmore: The Biltmore house is the main attraction, of course. Wayne and I did the audio tour, which in my opinion is the best way to tour the house. We walked into each room, pressed the corresponding number and listened to information on our headsets. I’m sure you would miss a lot of interesting details if you skip the audio tour. It took us about two hours to go through the house doing the audio tour.

Outside of the house, there are several gardens and water features to visit.

After touring the house, I was impressed with George and Edith Biltmore’s love for their family, friends and community. George built a large home, not to show off, but so he could welcome his loved ones to come and enjoy his mountain retreat. I was also impressed with the Biltmore’s faith. They seemed like very laid back, down to earth people.

Antler Hill Village: Antler Hill is a newer section of Biltmore. It opened in May. The village includes restaurants, shops, and more. I ate there twice while I was at Biltmore. Cedric’s Tavern has the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. Maybe it’s because everything is fresh and local. (I’ll say more about that later). Wayne and I visited the winery, but since we don’t drink, it was a really short visit!

Land Rover Experience Driving School: This was a ton of fun, and the men in the family will definitely love this. All I’ll say is get ready for a car ride like you’ve never experienced before. Wayne aced the challenge, but I was too afraid to drive. I wanted us to make it back to Raleigh in one piece.

There was so much more that we didn’t get a chance to see or do. But we did get a chance to have lunch at the Corner Kitchen in Asheville and learn more about the food scene there. One thing I really loved about Asheville was the emphasis on fresh, local food — farm to table. I’m sure that’s why all the food we had while we were there was so tasty. Also at the Corner Kitchen lunch, we learned that Asheville has a pretty large beer scene with lots of local breweries. There’s even a beer cruise that takes guests on tours of local breweries.

I’m really looking forward to going back to Asheville. It’s a great town for a North Carolina vacation, and it’s always great to explore your own state. President Obama recently chose Asheville for vacation so it must be pretty good, right?

Here are some of our photos from our trip. Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Asheville Getaway
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The late Dr. Adrian Rogers said, “Success is the progressive realization of God’s will for your life.” Failure, he said, is being outside of the will of God.

A lot of people are chasing success, but they’re going about it the wrong way. Change your mind about success. Take the focus off worldly things like money and status, and put the focus on God. Seek to please Him first and all the other things will be added to you. Besides, doing it our way can often lead us into trouble. Remember Jonah?

Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. — Joshua 1:7-8

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Easter is not about a bunny. It’s about love. Because of love, Jesus laid down His life for all of us. He was wounded for me. And because of that, my sins are forgiven. But the story doesn’t end there. On the third day, Jesus rose again and therein lies our hope. Happy Easter!

“Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5, NKJV

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5, NKJV

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“Who compares with you among gods, O God? Who compares with you in power, in holy majesty, In awesome praises, wonder-working God?” Exodus 15:11, The Message

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You’re stupid. You’re ugly. You’re not good enough to do that.

If someone said those things to us, we would be ready to fight. So why do we say those kind of things about ourselves over and over again? Why can’t we see what God sees?

Many times, when I’m feeling insecure, I wish I could look at myself through God’s eyes. He doesn’t call me stupid. But His word says if I need wisdom, I can ask Him for it  and He will give it (James 1:5). God doesn’t say I’m ugly. He says I’m wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). God never says I’m not good enough to do something. He says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

I’m reminded over and over again of the importance of studying God’s word diligently. We can’t know what God says about us unless we know what His word says.

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I guess you can say I’ve been on a bit of a vacation from blogging. It wasn’t intentional; I’ve just been so busy with other things. But part of the reason I started my blog was to force myself to write. So here I am writing.

It’s March, and that means it’s time for non-stop basketball postseason excitement. I hope my Duke Blue Devils can pull out an NCAA championship win. That would be the perfect cap on a great basketball season for me. At work, our men’s team brought home a conference title, and it was great to witness the excitement of the alums and the students.

I know my husband is a little disappointed that his team, the UNC Tarheels, didn’t perform as well as he hoped they would this season. But, hey, at least they made the NIT, right?

In other news, the 2010 Census is under way. I love the little jingle from the commercial, “We can’t move forward until you mail it back.” It’s a catchy tune. Our Census form came in the mail today. They don’t ask for much information these days, but the Census records from back in the day are a wealth of information. The Census records have been so valuable for me in researching my family’s history. They include information about occupation, if the person could read and write, if they lived on a farm or owned a radio. All that is just from the 1930 Census. Maybe years and years from now, one of my distant family members will look me up in the Census records.

This summer will mark my fifth wedding anniversary, and I would love to celebrate in some huge way. Maybe another (small) wedding. I just want something that gives me an excuse to wear another dress. I found the perfect one (or two) on David’s Bridal’s Web site.

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s from the stunning Oleg Cassini collection. All very beautiful dresses. Maybe I could just become a wedding dress model. Then I could be a bride all the time.

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