Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oaky Grove Church / Mial Plantation - Clayton, North Carolina

As one that is fascinated with any historical structure, I visited the Oaky Grove Church in Clayton, North Carolina yesterday.  After hearing about this place from a friend, we did a little research and found some interesting events in North Carolina history have taken place here.  The general area is often referred to as Mial Plantation.  Mial Plantation was one of the original land grants in North Carolina - the land acquired by Mallichi Hinton in 1761 "from Lord Granville of England."  The farm became one of the largest post-Civil War agricultural operations in Wake County, with over 2,700 acres and at least twelve tenant families growing cotton, corn, and some tobacco in the late nineteenth century. A local Raleigh resident retains a lion's share of the land that has not been sold off for residential development - a tract of 345 acres.

The plantation, owned and operated by members of the interrelated Mial and Williamson families since 1775, was one of Wake County's largest and most prominent cotton plantations throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although the main house was destroyed by fire in 1973, many of the plantation's core buildings still survive.  One structure, Oaky Grove Methodist Church, is a shining example of Greek Revival architecture and served the plantation land and its neighbors from its construction in 1876 for a then-staggering sum of $600.  Interestingly, the church was relocated to this current spot.  Many folks report that the church was built by request of a man's fiance.  She claimed that she would not marry him until he built the church. 
In some disrepair it stands proudly guarding its small cemetery out back and is flanked by some outbuildings some distance away. One of these served as one of the first schools in the county (Frog Pond Academy). 

This area was the encampment of General Johnston during the Civil War, as it is the highest point in Eastern Wake County. 
The steeple on the church is not original. The steeple now crowns a Catholic Church in Salisbury, NC (allegedly).  The steeple was destroyed by fire in the early twentieth century. 

Overall, this is a beautiful area enriched with history.  I'll be back to visit again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giving it up.....(or at least backing off)

Well, I'm not Catholic, but since I'm hearing my Catholic friends "giving something up for Lent" maybe I will too (sort of).  I have an addiction:  coffee.  And I don't mean a little addiction.  I drink two large cups full every morning, which probably equals about four regular cups.  And what do I like in it?  LOTS of cream and splenda.  So, by the time I drink all of that I have probably had the calories equivalent to a piece of cheesecake.  Even writing this out makes me realize that I need to back off.

So!  For the next 5 weeks, until Easter, I am limiting myself to a total of five cups of coffee.  That's one cup per week.  Wow.  I hope I don't have withdrawal headaches coming off of the caffeine.

Are any of you TOTALLY addicted to coffee too?

Friday, March 4, 2011


Well, after ten years of searching for a church home since we've been married (and moving around 7 times hasn't helped) we finally found one in North Raleigh Church of Christ.  Finding a rather conservative church that reflected our beliefs was actually a lot harder to find than one would have thought.  And then when you finally find that, is it a place where you feel that you belong?

I will be honest, the first four or five months we went there, we were sporatically attending.  It then dawned on me that if we wanted to become part of the church family that we needed to jump in and participate in things.  This church is not a huge church.  I think maybe for church (not Sunday School) that there are usually about 200 on the attendance report.  So, maybe a tad bigger than the churches we grew up in, but still small enough for my liking.  And of course, we don't have kids, so it made it a little harder to really jump in and meet people.

We joined the church a few weeks ago, and then an interesting thing happened.  And honestly, I thought it was a GREAT idea that they did.  Did you know that about 20% of the people in a church do about 80% of the work?  Really, it's probably true.  So, they wanted to get other people involved.  What did they do?  They held a "job fair" in place of Sunday School last week called "All In Sunday".  Each ministry set up a table and you could read about it and the ministry leader would answer questions and you could sign up to help with any of the ministries that you felt led to do.

So, I signed up to keep the nursery, to be on the meals ministry (take meals to the sick, new babies, after funerals, etc), the card ministry, to be involved in the ladies' book club, go to the ladies Tues morning groups and Wed night groups (when I'm not working--which is more than 50% of the time).  Mark signed up to help mow the church property, do carpentry work, serve communion and help with the offering plates on Sundays, and on the Habitat for Humanity building team.  Had they not had this, I'm not so sure we would have done all of that.  I think that is true for a lot of other people as well.

So, you'll probably be hearing me blog a bit on the different things we're doing with the church family.  I am excited to have these people in our life here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And I would walk five hundred miles.......

Remember that song?  I used to love it, and really, it was a stupid song.  But I have decided that during the month of March I am going to walk, not 500, but 100 miles.  Now, for runners I'm sure this doesn't seem like much.  But I've been pretty sedentary for a while, so this is a big deal.  But the weather is getting nicer and I'm quite tired of gaining weight.  I'm one of those "when I get stressed, I eat" people.  And lately?  I've been stressed a bit.  So, time to do something about all of these extra pounds before summer gets here.

So, now that I've blogged about all have to hold me accountable!  (Thanks for that idea Arika!)