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!