Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marathon Madness... (Day Four)

The Marathon of vacation pictures continues...

After the reunion, we headed for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I loved this little family town. Although it does look like a smaller Branson. The people were nice and it was filled with fun family things to do. In fact we had a very hard time deciding where we would like to spend our afternoon. We finally decided on this place...

Looks crazy, huh? It was. But we all had a great time. Everything from climbing walls, earthquakes, bubbles, a bed of nails, baseball and space suits had us all enjoying ourselves. They even had laser tag and my mom played like a trooper! As we left everyone agreed it was a fun time...well that is except my youngest nephew Tate who exclaimed "I never want to go here again!!!" He is cute, but hard to please sometimes! He's five. :)

After Wonder Works we went for dinner. My sister and I spotted what my dad called a "little hole in the wall," but that little "hole" turned out to be a real treat. We mainly stopped because of the name. I kept expecting Fonzie to pop out somewhere, but was to be disappointed. However, I loved the and white tables, jukebox, retro bar and pictures scattered all over the walls of celebrities, like Elvis and "The Beatles." If you like a good 'ol burger and a milkshake, this is the place to might even get to see "the King."

After dinner we went back to the motel. My sister and dad spent the evening in the motel lobby, the only place you could get Internet, my mom had a few quiet moments to herself in her room and the dads took the kids swimming at the motel pool. I ended up at the pool for a photo shoot, before making my way to the lobby to blog a little. Here is just a few clips from the picture taking session...

Day Four turned out to be a fun day. Next stop? Dollywood.

the Marathon of Pictures Continues... (Day Two, Three and a Half)

Our destination for the first part of our family vacation adventure was a reunion. My parents were missionaries when I was younger. One of the countries that I lived in was Bangladesh. For years now, the missionaries from that country have gotten together for a reunion every couple of years. My parents go to about every one of them, loving to see and visit with old friends. My sister has been before, but I hadn't. I finally told my dad that this year my family and I would go. Although many of the missionary kids who were my friends growing up couldn't make it, I really enjoyed seeing the "aunts" and "uncles" who had such an impact on my life during my younger days.

There was Uncle Jim and Aunt Betty who were some of the first missionaries I ever met. As a GA (a mission group for young girls at church) I had to write a letter to a missionary. Knowing my parents were planning to go to Bangladesh, but were waiting for visas, I wrote Uncle Jim. He wrote me back. I still have that letter too. I always thought it was sweet that he took the time to write a young, scared little girl.
There was Uncle Tom and Aunt Gloria who filled the shoes of what true missionaries should look like, in my eyes. Uncle Tom always had a passionate energy about him. He always seemed on "fire" about something. Not to mention he was always doing something, without trying mind you, that made me giggle. Aunt Gloria... except for her skin and hair color, she knew how to "blend in." I remember as a young girl being in awe of her. The way she spoke another language and carried on a conversation without pause. She truly loved what she did, she loved the people and the country she had come to live in and she loved Jesus. On top of that, the people of Bangladesh truly loved her too.
Uncle James and Aunt Gwen were the parents of some good friends of mine growing up. Although, the other two families had kids that I loved too, it was Aunt Gwen's house that I went to, when I needed somewhere to stay. That was an experience as a young girl. I have several memories of this family, without my parents being around. I know that doesn't seem unusual here in the states, but you have to remember, I'm talking about living in a foreign country. a place where you didn't take ANYTHING forgranted. The craziest memory was the fish she served for dinner... it was still the "WHOLE" fish that laid on the platter on the dinner table that night. I remember gulping as I looked at the "EYEBALLS" looking back at me. And there was no mom nearby to get me out of eating this poor fish either!!!

Isn't it funny what we remember?
One family that was very special to me, who lived on the same "side of the river" so to speak, while we were in Bangladesh, couldn't be there. Unfortunately my "aunt" is going through treatments for cancer and is very weak. However, I have many memories of their family and going to their house. Their kids were my comrades in crime and our families were known to spend holidays together. Although they were unable to be at the reunion, I couldn't pass the moment to reflect on a few childhood memories with Uncle R.T. and Aunt Fran.
There were also many other missionary families there. Some of them were in Bangladesh and gone before my parents arrived on the mission field, while others came after. It was a great time of sharing and remembering. Here are just a very few of the many pictures taken...

Probably my sister's favorite part of the reunion, was eating favorite foods she hadn't had in a very long while. Of course I think she was disappointed we didn't eat the curry with our hand off a banana leaf...

My parents have a ministry they call "Living Portraits." My dad will write monologues for famous people in history and then he and my mom will portray the different individuals. They travel all over to churches and school, sharing a little history and faith at the same time. Examples of these mini dramas are Martha and George Washington, Mark Twain, William Carey, Lottie Moon and Luther Rice. At the reunion my dad took on Luther Rice, a man in history who had a great big heart for missions. Dad did a great job. I thought you might like to see him all decked out in costume.

So, what did the kiddos do, while all the meetings were going on? They attended some of the meetings, but Saturday they got to play a little. The dads found a fun place to hang out in a town nearby and believe it or not I was able to talk my hubby into taking a camera.

Overall, the weekend was great. It was wonderful reliving a piece of my childhood, that often gets pushed aside in my busy life now. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering I was even over in that part of the world once upon a time. It is at times I like that, that I have to pull out a picture like this one and just remember...

Hope you enjoyed day two, three and the first half of day four of our family vacation. I thought it was a great time of not only remembering what my parents and so many others gave up to "FOLLOW" Christ, but to also reflect on how "I" can do the same thing in my day to day world. Please take a moment today and pray for those who have given up much to follow the Lord's calling with a mission minded heart. Even my children were in awe of what goes on in the day to day life of a "real live missionary!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let The Marathon of Pictures Begin... (Day One and a Half)

Well, I already wrote a little about day one and the first half of day two, but I think I promised some pictures. So since I just got back into town just two hours ago, I will recap day one and a half a little and share the beginning of my picture marathon with you. However, since I am tired, you will have to wait for the rest until tomorrow.

So here we go... let the marathon begin!


Kevin and Mr. Bill. As I may have mentioned before, Mr. Bill was a big influence for the "good" in Kev's growing up years. He is a dear Christian friend who my hubby really looks up to. I was so glad to finally get a good picture of the two of them together.

We met my parents in Little Rock and Mr. Bill allowed us to leave our car in his driveway while we were on our big family adventure. Thanks Mr. Bill!!!

Let's see... Two moms, two dads, one "Grammy," one "Poohpa," one preteen girl, four hyper boys (ages 5 to 10) and two vans. Anybody remember seeing us? We certainly left an "impression" wherever we went!!!

First night we drove into Nashville. Love that town. We decided to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Nashville. If you like pasta, like my family does, it doesn't get much better. YUMMY!!!

My son and nephew decided to make paper airplanes out of their menus instead of coloring...imagine that!!! Of course, once the food arrived, we had some happy little boys.

Of course I had to take a picture of everyone else around the dinner table too... Now please forgive us for the travel clothes, bedhead hair and tired eyes. We had just rolled into town and went straight to dinner after "too many" hours in the car.

Dinner ended with the waiter singing "Happy Birthday" to my oldest nephew, who will turn nine next week. As you can tell by the boys' expressions, it was a funny moment.

As for the other "half" or this post, well here are some random family pictures taken the morning of day two, before we got in the car for some more traveling. (Notice the fixed hair and unwrinkled clothes.)

I will end today's post with just one more picture. My daughter calls this "Dad, did you take your blood pressure medicine today?!" I know after this picture marathon, you are probably looking a lot like my hubby in this picture, but thanks for hanging in there as I recapped the first day and a half of my family vacation. Hope you will come back tomorrow for day two...