Carolina Bed and Breakfast

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A Girl, A Rock and Asheville

Posted on by Susan Murray

IMG_3932Our daughter, Emily, is graduating today from the University Of Illinois Nursing School and receiving  her Masters Degree as a Nurse Practitioner.  After graduating with a degree in Biology from Davidson College in North Carolina, Emily moved to Chicago where she was accepted into the accelerated Master’s Program.  She completed her nursing degree in one year and then worked in an Emergency Room while continuing her studies in order to complete the Master’s Program in the following two years.  She did all of this and maintained a 4.0 grade point average.  I am awed by her accomplishments and her capabilities. This blog is dedicated to her.

Emily was the best kind of kid.  She was the one who wanted to be a spider for Halloween: not spiderman but a  spider, a tarantula.  She was fascinated by almost everything and her questions were non-stop. She loved dinosaurs and history and music.  And at one point in her life she was interested in rocks. And then we left her British all-girl school behind and moved to Singapore where she entered 5th grade in an Co-ed American International School.  And suddenly it wasn’t cool to be interested in rocks (although it was still cool to be smart and good at math, thank goodness!).  And the fact that we had actually sent her to a “Rock Camp” the summer before became a source of great embarrassment to her.  If anyone in the family ever wanted to get a rise out of Emily, all we had to do was mention Rock Camp.

Fortunately Emily grew up and learned to respect herself, her smarts and the things that interest her.

Enter the Asheville connection.  One of the things we love most about this town are the people who live here. They are such a varied crowd with such a wide range of interests.  You never know who you will meet, what they did before they came to our town, or why they are doing whatever it is they do now.  Three years ago, about the time Emily entered the Nursing Program, James and I built an addition on our inn, the Carolina Bed & Breakfast.  In the process we met a lot of people in the area.  One of these was Mark Olivari, owner of the Scrounger’s Paradise.  You can read about our visit here but the important thing is that in the course of our conversation he showed us a room filled with burlap bags and the burlap bags were filled with Lapis Lazuli. He was nice enough to give one to me and when I told him I had a daughter who used to love rocks he gave me one for her too.

The rocks were unfinished and unpolished.  James and I brought them home and put them on a shelf where I would look at them and think that I surely there was someone here in Asheville who would polish them for us.  Of course in the way of life that is pretty much all that happened: they sat on the shelf and I thought about getting them polished…until this past month.


Knowing Emily’s graduation was coming up, James undertook the project of getting her rock polished.  He started by going to some of the stores here in Asheville which carry stones and crystals. (Because of course we have a number of them!)  and at one of them he found a card for Bruce Caminiti.    After talking with Bruce on the phone, James made the drive out to Waynesville.   Like everyone else in Asheville,  Bruce once had another life in construction but what he really loved was rocks.  Now he lives in a little stone house, filled with rocks which he polishes and displays to his heart’s content.  The valley around his home is beautiful and he has placed stones and crystals all around the garden and on the walls and windows of the house.

This all comes together in kind of a wonderful life lesson.  People are not static.  They change with the circumstances of their lives and their age.  Like the Lapis we are giving to Emily, our dreams and loves can be hidden under a rough finish.  But all it takes is a little work to polish our lives into a beautiful shining surface.  And the best thing is you don’t have to rush to do it.  You can give yourself time to figure out which side is the best one.  As a matter of fact you may need time to find that out.

Knowing that no one’s life is ever a finished story, we offer our congratulations to all of the many people graduating this month and to everyone who is polishing his or her life. And yes, we are very, very proud of Emily!


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