Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Cornerstone Tour

The final part of our trip was spent traveling with Cornerstone Brass. Doyle really likes getting together with these guys to play music. They have made 2 recordings and I think they are pretty good. Of course, I am a little partial. Doyle wants us to come along and be with him as "he toots his own horn." It is fun to meet old friends and make new ones.

One of those "old" friends was Valorie Quesenberry whom I have been close to since college days. I really had a good time being with her and her family. Our kids played together and we enjoyed talking and laughing. She was a great hostess and our time there went too fast. She also has 4 kids and our youngest ones are only a month apart. I also got to be with Lorraine Johansen. We have know each other for 22 years and do not get to see each other very often. It was nice to chill and even skip one concert to be with their family. She has 2 kids; Julianna really made friends with Kaitlyn. Doyle even watched the kids while we went out to lunch and shopping. That was great. Lorraine and I sang in a trio together in college. We made sure we sang together while I was there. Oh, the memories! We laughed about our college days and cried about our losses. She has lost 5 babies and I have lost 3. We have experienced God's grace in a real way.

Our kids like the other guys in Cornerstone and I enjoy getting to know the wives when possible. I got to see Emily Heath and her boys. Samuel looks forward to being with the Heath boys--it gets a little active with 5 boys in the house. Emily fixed a yummy meal for us and we had a good time fellowshipping around the table. Hannah Shrout also brought their 2 little girls to a couple of services. She is very sweet and always has a warm smile. Our kids do pretty well during our travels, although they were starting to melt down towards the end. When you take 4 kids into a different home each night, it can be interesting. I have learned some new packing techniques that were helpful. I will not bore you with all of those details at this point.

Our kids enjoy seeing new places; we were able to take in some new sights. One of those memorable events was "Sight and Sound." If you have never been, it is hard to explain how spectacular this place is. It is a professional drama theater that puts on Biblical stories. The show lasted over 2 hours--I enjoyed every minute. We had live animals coming right down beside us and angels flying closeby. You can never look at the Bible the same way when you come out of there. We were able to see "In the Beginning" which tells the whole story of Creation, Adam and Eve, and the redemption of mankind. It ended with the marriage supper and an invitation to accept Christ. Needless to say, I was crying at that part. Just to think that God has a place at His table reserved for me is overwhelming. I was really struck with the realization that although Adam and Eve sinned and suffered so much, God never stopped loving--that truth really came through to me. You could not take pictures during the program, otherwise I would have had a hundred picture slide show. Well, God is good and I am glad that this part of blogging is finally finished.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Visiting with Sisters

The 3rd part of our journey was spent with my sisters and their families. Lou Ann's house was our first stop. She has 4 kids and another one on the way. We had a nice time with her gang. Samuel really enjoys being with Benjamin and Daniel. They did the normal "boy stuff." Hannah was so cute as she led Joseph around--he did not seem to mind. Charity finally let me hold her. We celebrated her 2nd birthday with gifts, pizza, and fudge delight. Lou Ann and I enjoyed looking at old pictures, exchanging clothes for our kids, and just being together. She made sure we were taken care of by having good meals and a place for the kids to run and play. Lou Ann and Esther live 10 minutes apart, so this made it nice to be able to spend time with both of them.

I got this bright idea that it would be fun for all of us to go to Wal-mart together. I am not sure what came over me, but I questioned my sanity later. My brother-in law Chris said that there was no way he was going with us. I wonder why? My other brother-in-law, Kevin, was at work, but I don't think he would have been up to the challenge either. Esther was comfortable with the idea, although Lou Ann was a little hesitant, but I thought she needed to get out of the house. It was a hoot--there we were with all 11 kids 10 years of age and under. I was tempted to hide and make it look like they all belonged to one of my sisters, but decided just to laugh at the parade. It was like directing traffic to get them to go down the next aisle. We finally decided that our nerves had had enough. We all got in the 2 vans--everybody strapped and buckled, when Lou Ann realized that she had an item that she had not paid for. I secretly wondered if she did not "steal" it on purpose just to get to go back in the store by herself. Just kidding. Well, we did have a lot of fun together. I went over to Esther's house and spent time with her crew after I had been at Lou Ann's for awhile. Julianna and Lydia love to play with Melanie and Alayna. All of the kids had a great time riding bikes and being outside--we have the grass stains to prove it! Joseph and Josiah are about a year apart; it is neat to hear them talk. Julianna enjoyed reading to Josiah even though he did not want her to stop. Esther and I had a nice time being together. She is a wonderful cook and I did not mind being the recipient of the delicious treats. Chris was true to his word and grilled chicken one day. I hope no one was counting how many pieces I devoured. Esther served a potato casserole to go with the chicken--so yummy. She also made some of her home-made biscuits and gravy, which I love. We even got to run in to Christopher Banks by ourselves (thanks Chris for watching the kids for a little while). Cornerstone Brass came for a Friday night concert and I got to see my honey again. It was an awesome time to see 7 churches represented in an enjoyable evening. I was surprised to see Lurlene Allen at the concert. They had moved into that area and we had become good friends while they lived in Florida.

We had planned a party for Doyle after the concert. He did another one of his tricks and had me added to the celebration. We 3 sisters, husbands, and kids got to be together for a short time at this event. I wish I could have seen my brother and his family on this trip, but that did not happen this time. Well, after saying a good-by, we parted and left for the last part of our journey.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mamaw and Grandpa Dave's house

The second part of our trip was spent at my mom's house in Kewanna, IN. We love to go to this quiet little town and spend a few days. On the way, we stopped and had lunch with my close friend, Mary Beth. It is always good to see her and her family. Her husband,Tom, owns his own Funeral Home and God is using him in a real way to bless people who really need God's love at a desperate time in their lives. He was very busy the day we drove through, but Mary Beth and the kids went with us to lunch and to a park to let our kids run. We even managed to stop and shop for a few minutes. We pulled in to Kewanna Wednesday night(18th of July). My mom and Dave have a big house with plenty of room for all of us to stretch out in. We didn't waste any time in planning some fun activities.

The next day we went to the Hines farm. Mark and Cindy go to their church and are some of the nicest people you could ever meet. They had sweet corn ready and my mom wanted 5 bushels to freeze. The kids got to help pick a few ears of corn, but most of it he had already picked earlier that morning. He took us to see the farm machinery and the pigs that he had just got in. Samuel found a baby bird in a tractor and "rescued" the little thing. Mark was glad to get him out since they are a fire hazard to tractors. They build their nest inside and the straw gets too hot. After we had a good time at their place, it was off to get some pizza and pick blueberries. This has become a summer tradition. When you can pick these delicious berries for 90 cents a pound, we just can't pass up the opportunity. Samuel also caught another bird in the blueberry bush. It was the day for birds.

We decided to go to a Festival one day. We really had a lot of fun. Samuel and Lydia got to participate in the tractor pull. Doyle, Julianna, and Lydia entered the watermelon contest. They had different divisions according to age. You had to hold your hands behind your back while eating the watermelon, which was interesting to watch. We enjoyed the normal things that a Festival offers. The turtle race and the frog-jumping contest was a hoot. Of course, I had to go to Bailey's Discount. This is an enormous store that sells everything. I always enjoy my time there, although I am sure my step-dad probably regrets ever introducing me to this place. "Dave, you are a real trooper while I go down all 50 aisles." My mom wanted to celebrate Doyle's birthday while we were there and Doyle pulled one of those deals where we also celebrated my birthday as well. It was neat to be able to celebrate with family.

We went to lots of parks on our trip up north. Pizza and parks--we love them. On July 23, Doyle left for Dan Martin's house--this was to practice for the Cornerstone Tour. We did not want to see him leave, but knew we would see him on Friday at a concert. We made the best of things by going to town and shopping. Samuel even had the nerve to tell Doyle on the phone that he really liked Mommy because "she blows money." This concerned Doyle and I had to explain that he had no cause for alarm. I had bought Samuel a cheap toy and he kinda made it sound real interesting.

Well, we had fun riding bicycles, playing badminton, and just being together. Grandpa Dave took the kids on rides on the tandem bicycle which they always enjoy. They had to wear jackets a couple of evenings. I almost did not pack warm clothing, but I was glad I did. Mom made biscuits and gravy for me one morning; she knows how much I enjoy this treat.

It is always hard for me to say good-by to my mom. We are very close and talk on the phone every day. I know it will be December before I see them again, that part is a bummer. We left on Tuesday the 24th for Jackson, MI. I do not like to travel alone with the kids, but wanted to spend some time with my sisters. I get my directions, make sure my phone is charged , the van gassed, and the kids have been fed and taken bathroom breaks. WE HIT THE ROAD!! Next stop, part 3 of our 'trip up north.'

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Back Home Again

I have unpacked the suitcases and washed the clothes. Before I attempt another task, I better start blogging. I know some of you might think that I have disappeared from this earth. No, I am still alive. We were gone for three weeks. We traveled 4,300 miles and were in 14 states. Part of this trip was vacation and part of it was a Cornerstone Brass Tour. I am one of those crazy women who decide to go along on the tour. Actually, we like being with Doyle and he really wants us along. It was nice, but I started getting tired toward the end of being in concerts for a whole week. Well, I am getting ahead of myself so I will start at the beginning of our journey.
We left July 13th to head for my aunt Erma's house in southern Ky. We arrived Saturday night the 14th. Visiting family in KY is always a highlight for us. We get to spend time with my aunt and uncle plus my 2 cousins and their families. My cousins feel more like brothers sometimes than cousins. Our kids play together and we have a great time. This year Erma surprised me. When I walked through the door, she had monogrammed balloons, gifts, and a Cold Stone Creamery cake for Tim and me. We both turned 40 this year and it was nice to celebrate this event together. We are 2 months apart in age. She even had hats for us to wear.
We got to do so many neat things in the 4 days we had together, including going to the Creation Museum. I had been wanting to go since they opened--we were so glad we did. It was wonderful to see a professional museum from a Biblical perspective. It was like a breath of fresh air to tell your kids, "this is true." We also got to go to Tim and Patty's house for a delicious meal. While the kids had fun playing, we had fun catching up on all the latest.
My aunt Erma and I even got to shop while Doyle watched the kids one morning. We had fun going into the stores and finding a few bargains while drinking our iced tea. One day we took the kids to a fun park where they could walk on trails and just have fun. When Tim and Patty's kids, David and Kelly's kids, and our kids get together, there are at least 12 kids. When Tim and Patty have foster kids, the group is larger. Since David had to fly on a business trip, he wasn't there the last few days. We missed him when he was gone, but we were so glad that Kelly and the kids could still be in on all the activities.
Well, this is just the first few days so I had better let the computer cool down while I get something else done around the house. School starts in a few days and I need to take inventory to see who needs what for the new school year. I promise I will write more soon.