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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

We’ve got spirit, yes, we do!

We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?!
mason matthew riley
Every now and then, I get a little misty-eyed and swell-headed when I think about how blessed my family is to live in this place, where a sense of community and neighborliness are still evident almost every day.  The Mister and I are grateful to be living and raising children in a community of fund-raisers, of do-gooders, of volunteers, and, no matter whether one is motivated by a sense of civic pride, of noblesse oblige, of Christ-like service or by some combination of the three, the end result benefits everyone. 
raider joe
This week has offered the wonderful opportunity to see our high school kids come together in a thrilling fund-raising competition that will culminate tonight in The Big Game between GHS and long-time rival, J. L. Mann High School.
Called simply Spirit Week, this seven-day event banks on the friendly and fierce competition between two schools to raise money for charities, chosen by the student council of each school.  Local businesses get involved by contributing to silent auctions and by donating a percentage of sales to the schools.   Students plan car washes and bake sales, dodge ball tournaments, and other fun activities to raise money.  To make it even more fun, each school day is a “dress-up” day, and there are numerous events planned each night.  It. is. exhausting.  Yes, the downside is that academics are slighted this week, but the upside is that important lessons like teamwork and generosity are learned! 
Below are the Spirit Week events for our high school.  I am sure our rival has something quite similar.image
Here is an excerpt from a letter from our school’s student body president (she lives around the corner from us, so we’re pretty proud),
“There is one week in the school year that stands out above all others, one week that defines the tradition of GHS… one week that unites students, teachers, faculty, and community members, one that sets the tone for the rest of the year.  It is [our] Annual Spirit Week!  . . . We have the privilege to support Camp Spearhead and A Van for Tyler.  All the money raised during Spirit Week will be divided between these wonderful charities.
Located in the foothills of upstate SC, Camp Spearhead is a summer camp for children and adults with special needs.  Camp Spearhead has been serving our community for many years, and needs our help to fund and furnish their new facility, as well as for camper-ships.
Fourteen-year-old Tyler is a very special member of the GHS family.  Serving as the Honorary Motivation Coach for the Red Raider football team, Tyler has brittle bone disease. He has broken over 140 bones in his body, yet he possesses an indomitable spirit that is inspiring to all who meet him.  Tyler recently received an electric wheelchair that is very helpful, but the family car will not accommodate his chair.  We will use a portion of our Spirit Week funds to buy Tyler an accessible van for his wheelchair. . . .”
Last year, GHS raised $100,410; our rivals raised $93, 150! 
raiders take the field
Perhaps I’m simply uninformed, and Spirit Weeks are as common as ragweed allergies this time of year.  If that’s the case, I’d love to hear about your Spirit Week traditions.  If the Spirit Week concept is new to you, I’d encourage you to consider bringing it to your community because, seriously, no matter the score of the game tonight and no matter which school raises the most money, this time, everyone really does win!
Go Raiders!


  1. oh i loved highschool football!! watching my brother play friday nights was even more exciting than watching him play college level! what a great way to celebrate spirit week too, raising money for charity. And great lessons to be learned with everyone envolved! Good luck in tonights game! :0)

  2. My kids Catholic high school had a great spirit week. Theirs, maybe because we're in Northern California, focused on artistic and creative competitions, and secondly on inter-class rivalry and intra-class bonding. The best part was probably the installation each class would do, around the same theme, where they would build incredible stuff to decorate their assigned part of the school.

  3. I am forwarding this to a teacher at our local high school! How lucky your children are to attend this school...

  4. So who won the game Fri. night?

  5. Red Raiders won the game, 42 to 7. About $230,000 total was raised for charity this year!

  6. That's amazing. Sounds like such a great week for the whole community.

  7. It's not often I wish I could step into someone else's shoes but yours are looking pretty darn good to me right now. High school football and being surrounded by the youthful energy and my boys' friends ~ I miss it so much I can barely drive past the high school on Friday night when I see the stadium lights on! You are so lucky to still be experiencing this. And I'm still amazed at your Clemson post! :) xoxo

  8. what a wonderful school and what a great story! congratulations :)

  9. With my hubs recently arrived from London I am very much looking forward to taking him to a football game, your post and your tailgate post has really motivated me to get started on this. Great post.


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