Randy gave us four free passes to Dollywood as a Christmas gift and today was our outing, along with thousands of others! Scott and Ethan stayed home working on the chicken barn so I invited my dear friend Mary and her kids, Morganne, Rheanna and Jesse to come along. It was perfect as Morganne had a season pass so we all got in free. We knew it was crowded when we had to park in section F for parking! There's always a feeling of excitement when you enter Dollywood and even more so during Christmas with their decorations and lights everywhere....it was beautiful. Our first ride was Thunderhead, their old fashioned wood roller coaster. Jesse talked me into riding it, sitting together. There's something about the cling, cling, cling as the coaster goes over the wood planks. Up, down and around we went, screaming the whole way; it was a blast and the long waiting line was worth it! At the end of the day we all decided the trip was worth it just for that ride. Our next ride was the Tennessee Tornado with three loops... we were more than happy to watch the girls on this one. The forecasted rain started earlier than expected and it began drizzling. After the Carousel ride, the temperature started dropping and the kids were getting cold. We stood in line for the Dollywood Express, however, it was raining steadily by that time and were wet and miserable so we decided to call it a day. Sometimes desperate circumstances makes a person do things they normally wouldn't do. We were waiting in line for the trolley to take us to our parking area and well...we ducked under the rope, cutting in front of a long line of people! I know it doesn't make it right, but actually the kids did it first and Mary and I just looked at each other and followed. What sinful natures we have...and trying to justify what we did! We paid for it though, as our decision made us have to wait in the rain even longer :) We had a great day at Dollywood, laughing and giggling the whole day, despite the rain. We stopped at McDonald's on the way home, filling up with dinner and hot cocoa to keep us warm. It was a day we won't soon forget! Thank you Randy for our special treat.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Charles headed back to Cookeville this afternoon as he was scheduled to work at Home Depot bright and early Friday morning. We're thankful for the family time we had, though our time together was short. We loaded him up with lots of leftovers and chocolate then kissed and hugged and sent him on his way. We are so proud of you Bud and keep you in our prayers. Miss you!
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Merry Christmas to our family and friends; we pray God's blessings upon you on this very special day. We usually spend Christmas Eve with Nana and Steve (missed you), however this year they were traveling out of town, giving us the opportunity to attend the candle light service at our church last night. It was a special service with our church family, ending the service with the singing of Silent Night by candle light. This year Randy is also in China with Emily. Charles mentioned this morning that it felt different this year without Randy. We all agreed, however we're so happy he's with Emily...and next year they'll be here together! God is so good, seeing us through these periods of change and we trust in His plan for our lives. A special gift this morning was talking with Randy and Emily from China, hearing their voices. We passed the phone around to everyone, hearing stories and bits of their news. We send you both our love through these pictures. Every family has their traditions at Christmas and one of ours is Scott reading the Christmas story from The Gospel of Luke and family prayer before we open gifts. It's a tradition I hope our men will carry on when they have their own families. We're so thankful for the gift God sent us...the birth of His Son, our Lord and Savior. Merry Christmas! We leave you with this special verse: For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Over a week ago I received this flyer in my mailbox from the local church down the road and was so touched that someone had taken the time to color the picture. I hung it on our fridge, looking forward to their caroling. Many of our neighbors attend this church and we've visited several times, always enjoying those visits. I must admit, there's something appealing about a small country church, especially when it's part of your community. This afternoon, I started baking for the carolers to come and made Peanut Blossom and Rudolph Reindeer cookies, something I thought the kids would enjoy. A little after 5:00 pm we heard Bear barking and knew they were in front of our house. We quickly tied up Bear then Scott, Ethan and I walked down to the road, greeting our carolers with the cookies...we knew most everyone on the hay wagon, one of the blessing of living in a small community! They invited us along and before we knew it, we all climbed aboard. We slowly headed to our local Lakeview Market, singing Christmas carols along the way to all. What a special blessing it was to spread Christmas cheer with our neighbors! Thank you Pleasant Hill Baptist Church!
This morning Scott, Ethan and I hiked to our back hills to pick out our Christmas tree. We have several groves of White Pines growing on our property that are just perfect for Christmas trees. With chain saw in hand we scouted out the perfect one. I must admit the White Pines are not as full as Frazier Fir trees, but to me, when they're all decorated, they're country perfect. How many people can say they go out back to cut down their own Christmas tree? We are so blessed to live on a farm. When looking at the pictures below, you can see our barn in the distance and the elk. The tree we picked out had a little pine cone attached and it reminded me of my niece, Ashlee, who always picks out a tree with a pine cone:) Scott said, "It's not about the tree, but the process of getting the tree." He is so correct and that's why I took lots of pictures. I'm so glad I waited till Scott and Ethan were both home to pick out our tree.
On our property. That's our barn in the distance.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Scott returned safely from his trip to Shanghai, China! He's been gone a couple weeks and was so missed. The cool thing was Randy and Scott were both in China at the same time. Randy was flying to Chongqing to spend Christmas with Emily and Scott was in Shanghai. Who would have thought! Working at TRW has given Scott the opportunity to travel the world, though I bet he'd agree to the saying "there's no place like home." Thank you Lord for his safe trip and Randy and Emily remain in our prayers.
One last picture of my babe-6:00 am at the airport.
Ethan drove me to pick him up. Scott's flight was delayed, but he finally made it!
Friday, November 29, 2013
Scott, Randy and Jerry started our chicken house today, setting the posts and working for several hours before Randy left back to school. Our old chicken house was torn down last summer as it needed to be rebuilt and made more functional. The chickens arrive in March so I imagine Scott will be working on this throughout the winter months.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:4,5
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours. It was a special day with our dear family and friends once again gathered around the table, celebrating our day of thanks together. God has blessed our family and friends through the years and we give our Lord praise. I believe everyone's favorite time is sharing around the table what we're thankful for and our hearts are full of thanksgiving knowing we're His! Thank you Brenda and family for our Utah leaves, scattered around our table...you were with us! Late in the evening I ended up taking my babe to the ER for an allergic response to poison ivy. He has a rash over his entire torso and arms/hands and was put on steroids. He's uncomfortable to say the least. If you know of a home remedy for itching, give me a call :)
Charles and Bear
Steve and Nana
Randy next to his carved heart. We miss you Emily!
Charles and Brittney :)
Charles, Randy, Ethan and Kenny
I'm holding Brenda's leaf in my hand!
Frank, Susan and their son, David and wife Kendra
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The men are home! Randy arrived last night and Charles and Ethan arrived today. We can't begin to explain how blessed we feel for this time together...it's so good to hug them. We woke up this morning to a dusting of snow which was added excitement. The men spent the day visiting with each other and friends. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and next year Emily will be with us♥ In the meantime, we send our love to you Miss Emily and you remain in our prayers. Here are pictures of your Randy.
Scott, Kenny, Josh, Ethan and Randy
Preston and Emma with Randy
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Tonight we went out to dinner with some of our friends, meeting at Carver Apple Orchard in Cosby, Tennessee. We bought apples at the Carver Country Store and licorice at their old fashioned candy store. It's neat little place in the middle of the country. We then drove to Gatlinburg and ate dinner at the Best Italian Restaurant, known for its garlic rolls, dripped with butter and it's New York style pizza...it was worth the drive. We must have been there a long time talking around the table, as the next thing we knew, the waitress told us it was time to leave...others were waiting for our table! Below is a picture of us at Carvers.
Scott, Becky, Martha, Steve, Trish and Dennis.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tonight our church had our annual Fall Festival, a positive alternative for families to spend their Halloween. We offered free food and drinks, hay rides, fire pit with smores, inflatables for the children, lots of games and booths, clowns, face painting, costume contest, cakewalk and more. We served over 500 hot dogs and ran out :) I love how our church family works together for this community outreach, a blessing felt by all. A big thanks to Rena, Doug and Doris for your time spent in organizing this event...you are so appreciated.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
This past weekend we had the opportunity to listen to a time-share opportunity which included a two night stay at the Hampton Inn at Myrtle Beach. This was our first time to Myrtle Beach and I was super excited to see the ocean and smell that salty air. We arrived late Friday night and our first stop was Thorny's for a late dinner. After checking in our hotel, we headed up to our room on the 8th floor with a view of the ocean. We couldn't see the ocean since it was dark, but we could hear the waves crashing on the shore. The next morning when I woke I rushed to the window and saw the beach...it was beautiful. I was at the beach!! We spent our morning walking along the coast and by afternoon it was in the 70's with blue sky. We went to our time-share appointment, taking Dave Ramsey's advice and saying no, then headed to Chestnut Hill restaurant for some fantastic seafood. We fell asleep with our sliding glass door ajar, listening to the crashing waves. On the drive home we saw fields of cotton and stopped for some pictures. What an awesome weekend getaway with my babe♥