A friend of a friend-Amanda Hooks -Michelle Raines-December 24

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for December 24, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Tonight my family is carrying on a tradition that we were not part of starting but got to participate in last year. Several families at First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton, NC  on Christmas Eve gather after the 5:30 p.m service for fellowship. The gathering rotates each year and tonight it our family’s turn to host.

Last year we went to the home of Michelle Raines and she treated our family with great hospitality. Michelle is a mom to a daughter Taylor and son Harrison.

(l-r) Brittany Terranova-Michelle Raines, Taylor Raines, and Harrison Raines with Santa at Lu Mil Vinyards.


Michelle like me is a East Carolina University graduate and she works as a kindergarten teacher ffor the Public Schools of Robeson County.

One of the takeaways from our visit to Michelle’s home last year was how my sister Mary took to her dog Bailey. Michelle made my sister with special needs feel welcomed and loved. That was a special Christmas gift.

Michelle and Bailey


The other part of the evening that makes this Christmas Eve event special is the mix of people attending. Some have small children-some have adult children-some have no children with them. The vibe that all of the people give off is appreciation for the holidays and each other.

We feel blessed to have people from our church and community gather around our tree this year. The 2015 11foot tree we have decorated is found below.


Thank to Michelle and her friend Amanda Hooks for letting us share the joy on Christmas Eve at our home.

The Friend-MICHELLE RAINES in the center with her two children.


The Friend of the Friend-AMANDA HOOKS-shown on far left


Oyster Roasts

Amanda and her husband Jamie have also found a way to include my wife and I as a part of another church social ritual. Jamie and Amanda have a business called Hooks Landscaping and along with the Ransom’s (Ken and Shannon) have co-hosted a January Oyster Roast each winter for young adults in the church. Somehow the moniker young adults has stopped reflecting the attendees when I got invited.

(l-r) Joe Terranova-Ken Ransom-Joe Osman-Jamie Hooks attending First Presbyterian Oyster Roast a few years ago.


Amanda made sure that we got included several years ago on the invitation list and that Saturday evening in January is always fun. The photo below is from 2014 with Amanda on front row far right.


Looking forward to being a Young Adult again at Ken and Shannon Ransom’s home in a few weeks thanks to Amanda & Jamie Hooks.



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