We had a great Thanksgiving at Mom's, feasting on turkey, ham, dressing, mac and cheese, green beans, potato salad, squash casserole, sweet potato crunch, turtle cheesecake, and Mama's pecan pie (yum) - have I forgotten anything?? Mama and I had promised to take the kids for a walk down to the lake, so we took off to enjoy the beautiful day after we stuffed ourselves. :o) I knew the lakes were down, but boy, to see it first hand was just shocking. I made a picture standing in the area where my brother and I used to swim when we were much younger. The water was such a long way away. We need to pray for more rain.
After our adventurous walk, the kids and I came back home to do some Christmas decorating. I had one tuckered out cowboy after it was all said and done. :o) He made good use of the clothes that had not made it to their proper places yet.
Mama and little brother J. came by later to help me "fluff" my tree. Tree fluffing is just not my cup of tea, but with the three of us working on it, it took no time at all, and it looked great! They were heading to Wal Mart, so we decided to tag along and keep them company. :o)
At church tonight we had the Executive Director from our local Pregnancy Care Center to come and speak. It was very interesting and eye opening. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an advocate of LIFE. It's one of my passions. Daddy put an offering plate near the back door for anyone to make donations for the Pregnancy Care Center. S. likes to tote coins around with her all the time, because she wants to "help" pay for things. These coins usually are some that she has found or has been given. When the service was over, S. looked at me, and said, "Mama, can I go put all of my quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies in the offering plate?" I could barely manage to say anything, but I squeaked out a "Yes," as I watched her walk back there, open her coin bag, and pour in those coins. What an awesome experience!!! I was proud (in a good way, if that's possible), and in awe as I saw my own daughter give "all she had." :o)
We are back home again. We would have been home earlier in the evening had we known that they had closed the road from Gatlinburg to Cherokee. We had no idea, and we were shocked. It hadn't even been that cold in Pigeon Forge. We saw the park ranger on the side of the road and asked him why it was closed, and he said because of snow and ice!
Before we left Pigon Forge, we had lunch at the Apple Barn. It had been a long time since we had eaten there, and it was delicious!! Daddy had a BLT, C and S shared a plate of chicken fingers, and I had Appalachian Chicken with apple relish.
We also did a little shopping before we headed home, so I was able to get a few Christmas gifts.
We had a good trip, but boy, do I have a lot to do!! :o)
We met Mema, Uncle J., and Aunt P. at The Olive Garden, which was S.'s choice, for lunch. They sang to her when they brought her ice cream sundae to her. Then we went on to Dollywood while the rest of the crew headed on home.
Upon arriving at Dollywood, we rode Rockin' Roadway first and then went to get some hot chocolate, but I had Spiced Caramel Apple Cider. Next we went to hear the Kingdom Heirs, and they announced Happy Birthday to S., and the band played a song for her. (Isn't she special??)
I had promised S. that she could do some crafts in Santa's workshop since she enjoys doing them so much. She and C. made a Shrinky Dink ornament and painted a suncatcher. They were cute.
We then headed to the Demolition Derby (bumper cars), and rode 3 times straight. At her request, S. rode with Daddy, and C. rode with Mom. Then S. rode the Shooting Star 2 times.
Next, S. and Dad went to ride the swings while C. and Mom rode the Flying Elephants. C. and Mom then watched Dad and S. ride Sky Rider until we all headed back to soar through the air on the Flying Elephants.
At C.'s request, we headed to the carousel - yet another ride that goes round and round. Dad and I were both a little dizzy, but S. and C. were unaffected by the continuous cycle. S. rode an ostrich, C. a zebra, Dad a horse, and Mom rode a deer.
We inquired as to where S. would like to eat supper, and she chose to stay in the park to eat at Red's Diner. Dad and S. had chicken, while C. and I had a burger. I wanted something other than chicken or turkey since that's usually about all I eat. I needed a change. :o)
For our last event, we rode the Polar Express in 4-d again. If you have a chance, you need to ride this very unique ride. It's pretty cool.
We had a good day and good times, celebrating with S. I hope she enjoyed it, too. (I believe she did.)
Today is S.'s 7th b-day. We've been aggravating her all morning, telling her that she's an old lady now, but she insists that she's not.
What a blessing these few years have been. As I was praying for her this morning, I thought of her birthmom and wondered what she must feel on days like today. I prayed for her, too, because I can't help but believe she loved S. and wanted to give her the best life possible. S. doesn't say much about her birthmom, but when she does she usually mentions that she wishes she knew something about her. I wonder myself what she must be like, if she's doing okay now, is she still alive? There's no way to know any of that, but my prayer is that S. will feel the warmth of God's love around her all of her life no matter what may go on or what she may know or don't know.
I'll post later about today's birthday activities..............
It's been an overcast day, but we had some fun, hanging out with Mema, Uncle J., and Aunt P. We saw about three shows: Appalachian Christmas, The Kingdom Heirs, and O Holy Night. We all rode the Polar Express in 4-D, and some of us rode The Scrambler, Bumper Cars, and the swings.
S. and C. also made a visit to Santa. I was so proud of them when Santa asked them what they wanted for Christmas. They both said they wanted toys for the shoeboxes for next year!!! (Operation Christmas Child) After that they both said they wanted one thing. S. said she wanted a Chinese Barbie doll to play with, and C. said he wanted a fire truck. Thankfully, S. and C. have not ever asked for anything at this time of year. I pray we can keep this up over the years.
We were able to catch some really great shows at Dollywood today, and we rode the train. One show in particular is probably our favorite. It's called "Smoky Mountain Christmas." At one point of the show the angel, Mary, and Joseph start out singing individually (solos), but then they all three start singing together, and it's not the same words, either. The angel is delivering (singing) the message to Mary about her being with child, Mary is singing about her questions and fears, and Joseph is singing about his questions and fears. You're probably thinking, "How in the world???" I can't explain it, but it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!
Another show we like is "Babes In Toyland," and probably after this particular show it will be one of Daddy's favorites, because he had Mary quite Contrary sitting on his lap. That's one of the privileges of sitting on the front row I guess? (grin)
We also enjoyed riding the Polar Express in 4-d. The seats actually move, shake, and lean as if you're really riding on the train, sliding across the ice. It's a unique experience.
There's nothing like a relaxing morning, being able to sleep in with no place to be at any certain time - aaahhhh the joys of vacationing. Not the case this morning, however. The previous was the original plan, but the fire alarm sounding at 6:50 this morning sent us all bolting out of bed and out the door - in our pj's!!!!!! So much for the relaxing morning. It turned out to be set off by someone smoking in their nonsmoking room. So back to our room we go. This presented a GREAT "teachable moment" - a person's behavior doesn't affect just himself, but others as well, in this case the entire motel. What a practical lesson for our two since we are reminding them of this constantly, it seems.
****Please note**** I have no photos of this, but I did grab my camera bag as we headed out the door. Quit laughing, K!
We are back in the mountains. Stinkerbelle wanted to do this instead of having a birthday party, so we didn't need our arms twisted. :o)
Anyway, on the way up here we noticed the trees are getting very bare. We did find at least one spot with an amazing view. Check out the photo.
We checked into our room, and then headed to eat lunch at a Mexican Restaurant called La Carreta. The food was okay, but that was about it. I think someone from our hometown Mexican place needs to give them some lessons. :o)
Since it was a rainy day, we decided to go see Madagascar 2. It was a good little movie.
Stinkerbelle will soon be having a birthday. We gathered with the grandparents at a local Chinese restaurant on Monday, November 10. This year S. wanted to collect items for Operation Christmas Child and forfeit her own gifts. In case you are not familiar with this program, a person buys items for a "shoebox" and then they are shipped to children all over the world. It's an amazing program, and it makes such a difference in the life of a child. We have participated in this program for several years now. Through S. doing this, we should have at least 8 boxes if not more to turn in this year.
One way or another, history will be made today or tonight (maybe tomorrow, if the results of the election extend beyond midnight). I have been praying for this election. I just wish America would understand that we would prosper here if we would be more concerned about ourselves spiritually than economically. How or why would God bless us if someone in office is leading America directly against His Word? He is a gracious, loving, and forgiving God, but when we "spit in His face," and remove Him from our lives, He will bring judgement on us. America, wake up!!!
what God is doing. He amazes me so many times. Our drive to church usually takes at least 25 minutes, but this morning it seemed like 5 minutes. The scenery is just beautiful, breathtaking in some areas. All the rich, vibrant colors seemed to dance against the sky this morning. I was so captivated by their beauty, by the One who created it all!! I had to pull over on the way home to take some shots, but the photos just don't do the scenery justice. God is just an amazing artist! What a beautiful picture He paints!!
One tree in particular really caught my eye, and I'm hoping to get a photo of it going back to church. It was such an amzing color of yellow, but the tree was rather small and skinny. God used that tree to speak to me. That tree is beautiful even now as it's so small, but wait until next year and the next, and it will be even more beautiful and bigger. There's so much potential awaiting inside that tree. We are like that tree. If we allow God to grow us day by day, month by month, year by year, then in time think of how beautiful we will become - not because of ourselves, but what God is doing through us. There is so much potential that lies within us.
The sermon we heard this morning was so encouraging. It was from Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua 1. Moses had died, and the comment was made that there will never be another leader like Moses. There was a time of looking back and celebrating what Moses had done. Moses dying didn't take God by surprise. Nothing does. Before Moses died, however, God used Moses to lay hands on Joshua. God prepared a leader at the proper time, because He knew what the future held. We don't. The preacher used that this morning to relate to us, to encourage us as a congregation. Our pastor leaving didn't take God by surprise. He's got His hand on some one and will bring him to us at just the right time.
So, why the photo of the cup? I'm glad you asked. That cup represents (to me) what God is doing in our church. There's potential for a church without a pastor to fall apart, but that's not what's going on at our church. We are binding together as a body of believers on a mission. You say, "What about the cup??!!" Well, this morning while I was leading music, I got this awful tickle in my throat. (Not a good thing when you're in front of the church, with a microphone right there as well.) I tried to cough, but when I got to the next high note, it happened again.........and I still had to lead the choir. Well, as the choir stood up and the music started, there was our organist, bringing a cup of cool, refreshing water for me - just what I needed at the time. What it said to me was, "We are taking care of each other during this time, when we don't know what the future holds." That little white cup was a blessing!!!
Two posts in one day. I shock myself at times. :o)
I don't normally take photos of the food I eat, but I couldn't help it tonight. I was fascinated by the beautiful colors on my plate (my fine china, if you'll take notice), and it reminded me so much of this time of year. It also reminded me of how blessed I am with food on the table.
Take a look at the teriyaki salmon, home-made squash casserole, and mixed vegetables. It was yummy, if I do say so myself.
Okay, I have worked all afternoon since I've been home (off and on), trying to get these photos downloaded from my new little camera so I could upload them here on my blog. The new software I had to install, made me take a different route from what I've been used to.
We had a yard sale today, and I hate to report that it just really wasn't worth it this time. (Monkey Boy didn't seem to mind. He has been looking forward to this sale, telling everyone we've seen about it. Who needs to advertise??) Normally we do pretty well, but this time we didn't. We've never waited this late in the year to have one, so I think that played a part, and maybe everyone is just not in any kind of "shopping mood." In all honesty, there wasn't even much traffic up and down the road. I think people are trying to be conservative, and I don't really blame them. But, on the upside, it was a GORGEOUS day!!
After the yard sale, we went to a local church's fall festival. We all had a good time, and the kids enjoyed bouncing around in some of the blow up items. Mama won a $10 gift card from Wal-Mart. Way to go, Ma!
We've had a long day, and we are zapped, but we get an extra hour of sleep tonight!!! Woohoo!!