In Memory of My Father

Manuel Ybarra - Carmen's Dad

My father left this earth 16 years ago. I was not cheated by a sudden death. I was born when he was 60 years old. He lived a good, long, and healthy life. Logically, I know this but emotionally his death destroyed me. The loss of a parent at any age though is devastating, especially when you rely on that parent’s guidance and quiet strength as much as I did. Unequivocally, when he died a piece of me died along with him. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, that I don’t seek advice from him, that I don’t wish that we could just sit together one more time.

Blue Ridge Mountains Waterfall

Coming to terms with loss and what it means to live the rest of my life without him was a struggle. What I’ve come to see is that he is not 3000 miles away and 6 feet under. He is here with me. He is in my heart and in my child’s laughter. He is in my eyes and in my strength. He is within but he is also so ingrained in these Blue Ridge Mountains. This place he never found in life, he is rooted in the afterlife. I find him in a blue jay outside my window. I feel his warmth in the pine scented mountain air. On hikes along the Parkway trails, in the stillness of the roaring sounds of the waterfalls. He is deer and bear sightings. He is sitting by the river watching people fish. He is the heartbeat of the drum circle. He is the acorns and seedlings beginning life anew. He’s always here, he never left me. Where I am, he still is, always.

Blue Ridge Mountains - Asheville NC

Father’s Day I will spend on the trails with my dog and with my father. I will sit with him in the sunshine and feel his warmth, I will listen to his words of wisdom in the rustling of the trees, and I will remind myself how fortunate I am to have such an amazing father.

Love Carmen

Faith, Family, and Film: Western North Carolina’s Red Carpet Connection

Michelle Cox War Room Interview

Michelle’s interview with Karen Abercrombie who played Ms. Clara in the hit film “War Room”

The first thing you notice about local Asheville author Michelle Cox is her smile. Partnered with a sweet southern accent and quick wit, you can’t help but feel like family in her presence. She can cook a homemade meal that rivals anything in Southern Living while sharing humorous and heartfelt stories of family (6 grandchildren!) and faith. In fact, it’s fair to say that Cox’s inspiration as a speaker and writer stem from the 3 Fs: Faith, Family, and Film.

When she’s not buried in the laptop crafting weekly Guideposts blogs or text for her latest novel, (9 books published or soon to be released), Cox can be found jetting off to national film locations and premieres to interview actors, producers, directors, and other red carpet elites. These interviews and set experiences provide rich content for film reviews. Completed reviews end up published on

Michelle Cox Red Carpet Interview
When asked about her most memorable interview, she quickly names Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ, Person of Interest and When the Game Stands Tall), as his genuine kindness and deep faith made quite the impression. But she adds that interviewing Harrison Ford following the screening of a movie wasn’t too shabby either!
Cox’s interest in the film industry includes her own film aspirations, as she is the proud co-author of the Just 18 Summers screenplay, a project recognized as a semifinalist for the $50,000 Kairos Prize Competition (spiritual movies award). This screenplay is based on her 2014 fiction novel by the same title.

Part of the drive for Cox’s deep connection with the faith-based film industry is her genuine love for people. She writes: “I love getting into the hearts of the people who make the films. It’s a joy for me to sit and talk with them and to discover WHY they chose to produce or act in the movie of the moment.”

So you might be wondering why Cox isn’t based in Los Angeles, New York, or a similar metropolis. Quite simply, relocation isn’t needed. Asheville, NC is currently home to or a popular vacation spot for many film professionals, including location scouts and screen writers. In 2014 MovieMaker magazine recognized Asheville as the nation’s #1 small town movie moving area. As Cox explains, the mountains foster a creative spirit critical to production success.

With the rapidly expanding faith based film industry (think Georgia based Kendrick brother films and the current movie Risen), it’s safe to assume that Cox is well positioned to keep introducing the public to the film professionals who commit their lives to box office success. She will continue her writings and edits from her western North Carolina wooded retreat with hot tea in hand, Blue Ridge mountain sunsets, and grandbaby giggles in the background.

For more information about author Michelle Cox or the burgeoning faith-based film industry, see links below:

***Blog Post by Lori Brown

Unique Asheville Locations to Host Your Child’s Next Birthday Party

Asheville Birthday Party

Planning a young child’s birthday party can be, well, stressful. All of the mini-details from party theme to invites, along with securing a safe, fun and affordable party space can all add up to be down-right overwhelming. So why not think out-of-the-box the next time a celebration is upon you?

Get Creative and Artsy

Does your child love to paint, craft and create beautiful masterpieces? If so, then why not host a unique and fun birthday party at a local art-inspired location?

Paint Parties – Painting with a Twist, Asheville and Wine & Design Asheville are two great examples of an art inspired kid’s birthday party option. Choose the painting, invite a few friends, bring the birthday cake and let the kids relax and create.
Crafting Parties – Craft your own pottery, glass, mosaics and jewelry with a birthday gathering at Fired Up! Creative Lounge, Claying Around or Chevron Trading Post. In addition to local locations, craft stores such as Michaels, JoAnns and A.C. Moore offer birthday party packages and typically take care of the invitations, setup and cleanup!

For the Active and Energetic Ones

Climbing, tumbling and playing, OH MY!

Play-FULL Parties – The Mountain Play Lodge, Chuck E Cheese and Fun Depot all offer birthday party packages, making the planning, setup and cleanup a cinch. Not to mention, these locations already have the fun built in! Party, play and party some more right here in Asheville!
Adventurous Parties – Everyone could use some adventure in their life, and what better place to do that than in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina! A few birthday location ideas include Asheville Treetop Adventure Park, Adventure Rock in Candler and the WNC Nature Center.
Sports Fanatic Parties – Did you know that the Asheville Tourists offer birthday party packages? Yep! During baseball season, you can secure birthday packages at McCormick Field that include seating at the game, invitations and a baseball and marker for autographs. Oh, and don’t forget to check out birthday party options at Asheville Racquet Club, Tarheel Lanes and the Wolverine Paintball Park.

Parties on a Budget

Are you looking to host a memorable and fun birthday party for your little one but need to stick to a budget? No problem! Asheville has just what you need! Here are a few ideas:

• Host a birthday party at one of Asheville’s beautiful parks! Bring a lunch, some cake and have a blast playing and celebrating outdoors with the birthday kid and friends.
• Visit a local farm
• Plan to attend one of the many free outdoor festivals that happen throughout the year. Festivals such as Shindig on the Green and the Drum Circle are a few favorites right here in Asheville, North Carolina.

There are many birthday options right here in our own backyard. Take advantage of the free options, or explore the fun and adventurous services that many local businesses have to offer.

And, “Happy Birthday” to your special little one!

Blog Post by Get Out Mama!

Spending Time With Friends In The Mountains

craggy gardens sunset

Remember the days when “getting away” was all we did. Nature, water, hiking, enjoying the great outdoors. We had lots of time on our hands, and spent it carefree; in moments that would never be revisited. We made friends, we lost friends, we had our ups and downs. We lived, we played, we lost, we won, we survived; standing here today as a witness to a universe that balances all of our lives.

In the photo above are some of our family and friends enjoying a beautiful sunset at Craggy Gardens, near Asheville. We do not have forever, but we do have right now. Take a moment today to make a friend, build a relationship, or maybe renew a friend that has faded away over the years. Maybe you need to get away for a little, for some rest and relaxation in the mountains? You deserve it. And bring some friends. Someone once said that… we are all we have. This is true.

5 Things That Separate This Asheville Chiropractor From The Rest

one love chiropractic asheville

Going to a Chiropractor is usually what you do when you hurt yourself. This should not be the case. Dr. Derek, a Chiropractor in Asheville North Carolina, has many attributes that make him unique. Read them here:

  1. Asheville’s Only Certified Pediatric Chiro​practor with a certification from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr.Derek also has been teaching other chiropractors how to educate parents and care for children through his many workshops and training programs. ​
  2. Certified in Prenatal Care with a certification in the Websters Technique for ​p​regnant w​omen with Breech Presentation. Dr.Derek promotes being proactive about your families health. He encourages preconception care to help prepare parents and he has great success with infertility. He also focuses on caring for the mother and family after birth with an emphasis on caring for woman with postpartum depression and children that have suffered birth trauma.
  3. Specialize​s​ in Neurodevelopmental Disorders such as ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, Depression, Sensor​y​ Integration Disorder, Behavioral Issues, Autism, Asperger’s​ and much more. Suffering from neurodevelopment disorders growing up and having a daughter who is sensitive, Dr. Derek understands the importance in allowing all children to be in a state of balance and to meet their full potential.asheville chiropractic health
  4. Passionate about Family Wellness and helping families become ​closer and more connected. Allowing the family to heal ​and grow ​together is so much more powerful tha​n​ just caring for one of the parts. The family is a unit, they feed off of each other. When you care for them all together, the healing potential is exponentially greater. ​
  5. He is an Author of a new book titled… “Indifference:​ Why Children Are So Sick”. The book is a recipe for allowing children and families to finally be safe, healthy and happy. The question is, how do we get there? This book is the answer.​ Download Dr. Derek’s Free Ebook Here.
asheville chiropractor one love chiropractic

Dr. Derek has a Asheville Chiropractor office called One Love Chiropractic in north Asheville. We welcome him and his family into our Asheville community and look forward to the help he will bring to many lives in the area.