Well Folks, we're almost on our way home-tomorrow night we'll be trying to get back into a routine-kiddos back in school, me learning to cook again, Elissa soon back to work, and Dan hopefully starting to work again! A person can get spoiled, going on a 12 day vacation!
Since we haven't been on a family vacation for about 6 years, I figure this is the equivalent of several two day vacations!
Anyway, let me tell you about where we went, and some more of my thoughts!
After DC, we headed for Nashville, TN! We had a delicious meal at IHOP(have you tried their strawberry cheesecake pancakes??? Ooooohhhhhh.....yummmmmyyyyyyy!!!! And a hint from me-don't ruin them by putting maple syrup on them too!), and then we spent the night in Bristol, Virginia.
Well, our waitress at IHOP was such a friendly gal-she gave Amber a run for her money when it came to talking! :)
The room we were given at La Quinta had a burned out light bulb in the bathroom, and since the maintenence man was gone for the day, we had to change rooms because the bathroom was pitch black. So anyway, I headed down to the motel office to get my new room keys. Let me tell ya, that young man behind the desk made me feel more loved that Dan, my kids, and every human being I've ever met all put together! I was called Darlin, Sweetheart, Sugar, Shnookums, Baby, Honey, and about 15 other endearing names, all in the space of 5 minutes! I was waiting for the marriage proposal, since he seemed to love me so much, but instead of a box with a ring, he just gave me an envelope with my keys in it.
rydid call me about 4 different endearing names. Amber had gone down to the office too, and when she came up, she commented on all the endearing names she had been called by this young man too. lol
But hey, if the whole world had southern hospitality, there wouldn't be any wars ever again! How can you attack someone who calls you Sweetheart and Darlin every other word? :)
On to Nashville, Tennessee, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Resort
We stayed at the Opryland hotel for three nights, and went to a church meeting while we were there. Seeing friends from all over the states was a nice reunion. The services and preaching were inspiring and a time to hear from the Lord, to help with our needs of the day. It really is amazing how the Bible is the LIVING Word, and we can find help for our souls anytime-the Word is timeless and never becomes outdated!
While there, we enjoyed the beautiful atriums of the resort, but I personally did not enjoy getting lost regularly, being able to find my room one day, but not the next. CAN I GET AN AMEN, ANYONE???
Next Stop: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
This was a nice place to visit, and we will possibly come here again. But let me tell ya-the traffic on the main road is UNBELIEVABLE!!! It's bumper to bumper, for MILES!!!!!
We went to Hoot n Holler, which is a dinner show, and it was great! Family friendly entertainment, and lots of laughs! The star of the show reminded me of Dan-seriously! If you have ever been to Hoot n Holler, you will now realize why I need much prayer for my emotional well being! Comedians are fun, but living with one is a lot different from watching one on a stage for an hour! lol You need to be up for comedy everyday, ANY hour of the day! Think-the sleeping bag incident!!!
After that, we went to Magic Beyond Belief, a magic show that was fantastic! The small theater makes you feel like it may be more of an amateur show, but I assure you, it was not! Well worth our time!
On our way to the hotel, we stopped and rode go-carts. This is no exaggeration-Dan passed me THREE times on the track! Actually, I think EVERYONE passed me three times on the track! Yep, I just looked like a little elderly granny on the track, putzing along!
We spent a day at Dollywood, and that was a unique experience for an amusement park-a different setting with its rustic theme and mountainous surroundings. The atmosphere felt more family friendly than some places we've been. Once again, it's hard to feel a hostile atmosphere with a Tennessee accent and southern hospitality all around you!
I rode about three rides. :)
You see, as I've aged, my stomach has gotten weaker and weaker. My common sense has grown by leaps and bounds too-NO roller coasters for me!!!
I rode the kiddy water battle ride-which actually was a lot of fun! You go around a low riding water track, and you have a water gun, with which you shoot everyone you can reach with it, including innocent victims who are just walking by! There are also water guns for the bystanders to use as well(to shoot you). What was funny about this ride is that a little boy was shooting us as a bystander, and Dan had to be his clowning self--he started yelling, "Hey kid! Stop shooting water!" Well....the little boy got scared and ran to his mother! Dan tried to yell to him that he was just kidding, but that deep voice he had used to get the boy's attention had scared him off for good. Poor little boy-he'll probably need therapy for his unexplainable terror of amusement parks-even family friendly ones!
My second ride was an indoor roller coaster-which was for cowards like me. Not too high, and a big enough thrill to keep me content for years, maybe even the rest of my life. :)
The last ride I went on was a HUGE mistake! The yellow spinny teacups. I rode with Elissa-watching Dakota spin on his own was enough to make a person sick for days! Have you ever heard the expression, I couldn't see straight? Well, I can honestly say that when the ride stopped, I could not see straight! I was seeing multiples of my surroundings! It took several seconds to get my focus back.
And then I was nice and sick. :)
A nice dinner and off to bed after we left Dollywood.
Where We're Headed
We are on the top of the Smokey Mountains as I type. About two hours from Lexington, Kentucky, we are heading for Indiana to visit Dan's wonderful sister and beautiful family. Jen is such a dear friend to me-she is such an outstanding person-it's always a treat to see her.
We'll be heading home tomorrow. I think I will need a two day nap once we get there. :) Not really...I've been doing laundry along the way so I'm not overwhelmed when we get home. I probably won't have free hands anyway, since our kitties Diamond and Chloe will be craving our attention constantly for the next week. I've had a good kitty sitter while we've been gone tho-thanks Laura, and your helper, Mary-Kay!!!
Two Highlights, and My Thoughts
Sometimes it is the little things in life that make big differences for people. I am thankful that Amber uses her outgoing personality to help others. She has such a tender heart.
We stopped at a rest stop in TN, and a man was walking his mother to the restroom. We heard her mention she was having a hard time walking, and she was holding her arms out, as if to have the walls help her stay upright. Amber asked her if she needed help, and she said, "I sure do!" Amber helped her while in the ladies' room, and then walked her back out to her son. I went out before Amber and let the man know my daughter was helping his mother. He was appreciative since it was very awkward for him, not really being able to enter the ladies' room. As this 93 year old lady walked out, holding onto Amber's arm, she told her son that Amber was an angel that helped her.
If a child become a doctor, or a pilot, or a scientist, I do believe these are great accomplishments that make it only natural for a parent to be proud of them. But I do believe that the greatest accomplishment of a person is to care for other human beings. It makes me proud to see my 15 year old showing love to others. She's not too busy, her plans are not more important than a person in need, and it is fulfilling to her as well. The Lord loves a generous spirit, and I know that it doesn't just mean with money.
When we were at the magic show later that night, there was a little boy who had been crying thru quite a bit of the first half of the show. He was 8 years old. I was in the restroom when his mother caused him to cry, and Dan heard him being yelled at in the mens' room as well.
I know that you cannot automatically judge accurately what a person's life is like, but more than one of my family members were under the impression this boy was not favored too well in his family.
The little boy went out to the restroom, and Amber asked us if she could go out and talk to him. She went out and told him that God loves him very much, and that she would be praying for him. When he started to walk away, he turned and looked back at Amber. She asked him if he wanted a hug, and he nodded his head, so she gave him a hug.
When the show was over, and his family was leaving, the young boy quickly raised a hand to wave goodbye to Amber.
I don't know if God will show us what our small actions and gestures accomplished, but it is our hope that this small action on Amber's part will have a far reaching effect. He is now on her prayer list. Even if we don't know his name, God knows who he is, and just where he is, and what his needs are.
When We Get Home
Along with what I already mentioned about the things we will be doing when we get home, Dan and I want to do our part to reach out to others. There are so many hurting people in the world, and their future may be changed by someone reaching out to them. I need not be lifted up and thought highly of because I did this or that for so-and-so, but what a personal thrill it is to see others touched by my own actions.
There are many people who claim they don't believe in God, and don't care to regard His Word as anything but a piece of literature. But if you read the Bible, so many of the ways that it tells us to live are a benefit to US. God knew the ultimate way to live a fulfilled life is to give-of your time, you money, and your self. He always has been out for our own good, and He shows us that it is a huge blessing to bless others. We learn and change things about our own nature, and also how giving to others seems odd to many minds, until you try it yourself.
Well, I am going to close here-after Dan stops for a coffee drink, I'm going to take nap!