Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What a Fabulous and Blessed Vacation!

Our Fall vacation was just amazing!  God is so good to us!

We left here Sept 2 and drove to Brownsville TN (my hometown).  We 'camped out' at Daddy's house and visited with Daddy and my sister and nephew.  The next day we drove up to Daddy's Family Reunion.  It is always a blessing to see these aunts and  uncles and cousins and we only see once a year.  I have a sweet extended family :)  We spent the next day visiting with my mother.  I wish my parents weren't divorced but I am glad they live in the same town as it makes visiting a little easier. 

The morning of the fourth we left to drive north.  We visited our dear friends in MO for several days.  The children had such a blast swinging through the trees!  LOL  We also were able to meet my friend Katie and her dozen children at a park in MO and enjoyed our afternoon with them.

On the eighth we left MO and drove north to Iowa.  There we stayed with my friend Jennifer and her family.  I have *known* Jennifer for many years via an online message board for Christian women.  Meeting her in real life was a real blessing and she's exactly as I thought she would be.  The children enjoyed the big back yard and then came in and played Spoons.  It was just such a nice visit!

The next morning we were WI bound!  I have a dear, dear friend in WI, Cathy.  We have been friends for seven or eight years but never met in person.  We met on a message board and have been email pals and phone pals for many years.  Our daughters (both sets) have been penpals for three or four years.  Meeting their family was almost unexplainable.  Our hearts are now so firmly knit with theirs.  God is so good to us!  We had much fun at their house -- we visited with Tami who is a wildlife rehabilitator and we saw many different animals at her place.  Duane is a woodworker and Caleb has enjoyed learning about woodworking for the past few years.  Duane really took Caleb under his wing and taught him to use a lathe.  Caleb made a bowl.  :)  It is very pretty.  Our children all had so much fun playing together, they made a movie of an original play, they rode horses, we roasted hot dogs and had s'mores... many wonderful memories were made.

The morning of the thirteenth we sadly left their house with many promises of visits to come and drove to southern WI.  We spent the night here with another 'previously unmet' friend of mine, Cathe.  She, also, is a friend from the message board.  Cathe arranged a picnic for the other ladies on the board who live locally.  It was so nice to see Mary again and to meet Angela and Amy.  Cathe's daughter in law to be even came by for a few minutes.  Cathe and her husband Pat were amazingly gracious hosts.  Our family much enjoyed our time at their home!

We left there on the fourteenth heading toward Chicago.  We hadn't been on the road very long when someone pulled up beside us pointing frantically at our front drivers-side tire.  Tony pulled over immediately and saw that his tire was dangerously low.  We saw the Lord's protecting hand so clearly in the hour that followed.  We were very close to an exit so Tony slowly drove to the exit and to the first gas station, which *just happened* to have air :)  Here he noticed that the valve stem was very loose and whenever he touched it it leaked air badly.  I asked the store attendant for a tire store and it *just happened* that there was a Sears only two lights down.  We made it safely there and the attendant who *just happened* to not be busy checked and said he could fix it.  An hour and less than $20 later we were on our way.  As soon as we headed back toward Chicago it started to rain.  It was dreary and drizzly all day long.  We are so thankful we did not have tire trouble in noon time Chicago traffic.  Can you even imagine?...

It was after supper time when we arrive in TN at Tony's brother's house.  We crashed.  LOL.  The following day we slept in and rested some.  Later the family all started trickling in.  We were able to see everyone except Tony's stepsister Andrea and her family and Derek.  It was a good visit with everyone.  We are blessed with family who loves us :)

The sixteenth we drove home.  It was a lovely drive.  We were all glad to be home.  Two weeks away from home is a long time!

And our wonderful vacation was made possible in large part by Traci and AT.  Their family took care of all our animals and did our outside chores daily.  They are very dear to us... and not just because they keep our animals well! 
It was a really wonderful trip and I will try to get some photos up as soon as possible (Molly is still editing and resizing them). 

And that, dear ones, is a condensed version of the story of our trip.  I could go on and on and on about each family we visited and spent time with.  I am so blessed with all these wonderful people in my life.  :)