Sunday, November 27, 2022

Memories Made


Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. ~Proverbs 17:6

Can you guess what our last stop will be on our family reunion tour?  If you said my daughter, Sarah, her husband, John, and the three grandchildren, you are spot on!

Sadly, this photo is not taken during our visit, but a week later.  As fate would have it, both Savannah and Alexandra come down with respiratory viruses the weekend we are there in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Yes, we did see them briefly, but couldn't afford to get to close, as we certainly can't afford to get sick along the last leg of our journey.

The upside of all this?  We have Virginia pretty much to ourselves!

Here's the shirt we get for Virginia as we pass through that state.

She loves it and is happy to model it at our hotel.

Waiting to order food at Longhorn's.  Turns out this was NOT a great experience, but the poor service and delay in food service earned us a free dessert.

Playing backgammon!  Needless to say, we did lots of that.  Virginia is a ruthless player :).

We did hang out at the hotel for the most part, although we did visit an outdoor mall where I took Virginia into a Michael's.  She was in craft heaven!  We did buy her some modeling clay as she's been wanting to experiment with that medium.

How we love our little big girl!

We are so hoping to see everyone again over Christmas break, but that all depends on how much time John and Sarah can take off work.  If that doesn't pan out, we will aim for spring break.  Our weekly FaceTime chats will have to hold us over until then.

Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else, that the older we get, the more time seems to fly by before we can fully savor each moment?  That's how this last family weekend feels to me.  And as we leave Raleigh in the rear-view mirror, I once again find myself wishing with all my heart that we all lived closer together.

But, at the same time, I'm full to overflowing with gratitude for the safe journey we've had, and for every memory we've made together.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Walking Humbly


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

The Monday following our apple orchard adventure, we again meet up with Dominic for lunch, and then embark on a journey to Amish/Mennonite country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about a 30-minute drive from Reading.  We encounter lots of twisty backroads and enjoy the views of sprawling farms and impressive homesteads.  I had somehow never envisioned Pennsylvania as a rural state, but it truly is once you leave the confines of the major cities.

I've always had a fascination for the Amish people, and their close cousins, the Mennonites; I couldn't let our visit to Pennsylvania go without entering into and observing their way of life up close.  Here are some absolutely amazing photos that Danny miraculously captured while sitting in the passenger seat of Dominic's car.  Enjoy!

We are blessed and privileged to enjoy this glimpse into times gone by, before the mechanization and modernization of society.  I read so many blogs/books today where people tout a return to simpler times, when uncluttered minds could more readily focus on God, trusting Him in every facet of our lives.  In both the Amish and Mennonite communities, that closeness is the most cherished and upheld gift that God could ever bestow.  It isn't just a way of thinking, it's a way of life.

In our brief visit to the Amish Village gift store, I spy a book that I know immediately I need to read.

You can order the book for yourself here, and I highly recommend it to all my fellow bloggers.  I learned so much I didn't know, including the fact that this community has three favorite Bible verses, the first one being Micah 6:8.  Coincidently, that is my own life verse!  How it resonates with me!

Understanding how and why the "simple" folk live and work the way they do just might inspire you to find ways to simplify your own walk with the Lord.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Plentiful Harvest


Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." ~Matthew 9:37

The next two days are relatively uneventful, although we make it to our hotel in Reading, Pennsylvania, on Friday afternoon.  We settle into our hotel room, planning to visit with Danny's brother, Dominic, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Saturday, we just hang out at Dominic's house, catch up on all the news, and have dinner together.  But the next day, Dominic picks us up at the hotel early, and drives us to a beautiful apple orchard/farm.  Once there, we meet up with his son, who is also named Dominic, his wife, Heather, and their five-year-old son, Vito.

Vito sitting in the pumpkin patch!

Heather is in the red sweatshirt.  Her cousin, Peter, is toting the pumpkin wagon behind his wife.  Vito and his cousin, Cat, are holding hands.  If you look to the left in the distance, that's me talking with Dominic, the younger.

The two Dominics!

Three generations

The race is on!

We're going to order a pizza.  It tasted great!

While Vito plays in the hay maze . . .

And here I am with my bag of apples.

Before we know it, it's time to pack up the cars and head over to Dominic's and Heather's home for an afternoon visit and a lovely supper of chicken pot pie in the evening.  Vito has to give his cousin a parting hug. :)

It has certainly been a tremendous day filled with fun, family and new friends.  It made both Danny and I wish, not for the last time, that our family members didn't live so far away . . .


Sunday, November 13, 2022

A Bridge NOT Too Far


The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. ~Psalm 37:23-24

We don't travel very far the next morning before we find ourselves crossing a man-made wonder:  The New River Gorge Bridge!

I don't tolerate heights well, but I'm so glad the bridge is wide enough as to not permit a look at the rushing river below!  Before we know it, we're turning right into the New River Gorge National Park, where we are able to walk a short trail to capture the photos of the bridge with the brilliant fall colors.

The steel, high-arched bridge took three years to complete and is truly an architectural marvel!  It amazes me that God gave some people analytic minds to be able to design and execute such structures.  Once this bridge was completed, it shortened the travel time on this route from 40 minutes to one minute!

And, what's going on here?  West Virginia closes the bridge once a year on its "birthday" to allow for pedestrian activities; lots of vendors and events are featured, and as you can see from the above photo, thousands join in the festivities.  We note, too, that we will, fortunately, miss this holiday as it is two days from the day we are there.  That would have certainly put a chink in our travel time!

What a stunning and humbling place this is to visit; Danny and I are both glad we took the time to stop and drink in even more beauty as our journey to Dominic's continues.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Real Journey Begins!


The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. ~Deuteronomy 31:8

After we depart Knoxville, we begin the first long leg of our trip to Pennsylvania where Danny's brother, Dominic, lives.  It's a route that Danny has meticulously planned, from the daily miles driven to the hotels where we will stay in the evenings.  His limit (he does all the driving) for one day's distance is around 200 miles.  For some of my pedal to the metal friends, this may seem way too conservative a goal.  But what's wrong with taking one's time if it means we'll be treated to some great autumn scenery?

So, what's our next destination?  Beckley, West Virginia!  I'm inordinately excited, because West Virginia is one state I've never traveled to or through.  I can't wait to discover different sites and vistas, but there is a part of me, too, that is a bit apprehensive about traversing unfamiliar territory.  Each day, I ask the Lord to go with us and give us safe travels, and I'm definitely grateful for Danny's detailed mapping of our journey.  But I do think God delights in the element of surprise, the unexpected that awakens us anew to His glory and presence.

And just the mountains of West Virginia themselves are enough to evoke awe and wonder.

And we are most definitely surprised by the tunnels that allow us to drive right through them.  Wow!

Once in Beckley, we stay the night at a Country Inns and Suites by Radisson.

After a good night's sleep and breakfast in the morning, we are off to our next stop:  Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.  The next segment of our journey will bring us that much closer to Dominic's home in Reading.

And we definitely come upon a most unexpected wonder . . .

Stay tuned!


Thursday, November 3, 2022

God is With Us


Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? ~Psalm 139:7

No matter where we go in our lives, God goes with us.  His desire is to keep us close to Him, known, treasured and loved at all times.  Nothing drives this fact home to me more than the events on the recent multi-state trip Danny and I take in October.  Everywhere we looked, every place we visited, presented gorgeous fall scenes like the photo above.  Wow!  God's artistry is breathtaking!

In my previous post, I couldn't be frank about our plans; it made Danny nervous to announce that we would be absent from our home for 16 long days.  I'm sure you all understand that if any news leaked about the trip, our home's safety could be in jeopardy, as there are, unfortunately, any number of miscreants out there, more than eager to prey upon law-abiding citizens.  Is there anyone else out there who is hoping for change in the political winds on November 8?

Danny and I depart Kennesaw on October 11 to embark on a multi-state tour to reconnect with family.  Never before have we attempted to travel so far in one vacation.  The round trip covered a whopping 1900 miles!  

Our first stop is Knoxville, Tennessee, where we spend the afternoon and evening with my son, Daniel, and his lovely fiance, Heather.  It is a real treat to reconnect with Daniel and to get better acquainted with our future daughter-in-law.  Heather is one gem of a young lady, and I let her know, on no uncertain terms, how pleased we are that she accepted Daniel's proposal.  What a delightful addition to our family she will be!

We've known from the beginning that neither Heather nor Daniel desires a large wedding; just a simple exchange of vows at the courthouse will do.  Yet, as of October 11, no date has been set.  So, imagine our complete surprise when Daniel calls the next week to announce they have registered for a marriage license, and will tie the knot on October 27th!  Are we overjoyed?  You better believe it! 

And we know that through all their days together, God will go with them, blessing and keeping them in His love and grace.


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