Star Date 3/19/2016
Saturday, Chattanooga, Tennessee
The work part of this trip is over! Yippee!
First thing in the morning we drove to Lookout Mountain to see our oldest daughter and her family. It is so fun to have two grandsons run up and hug me! Elijah and Colin just about tackled me! Jacob is almost two and still a bit shy, but he was glad to quietly show me where Baby Lucy was sleeping. My first live peek at the most precious little three month old baby girl in the whole world! I impatiently waited for her to wake before I held her. I soooo wanted to pick her up, but respected my daughter’s wishes and let her finish her nap first.
Isn’t she beautiful? Look at all that curly hair!
We brought a Christmas present to the boys from their Uncle David. He made them a toy box with racks to hold their play light sabers and wooden muskets. We FaceTimed with him so he could talk to them about their gift. The boys had great fun moving their toy arsenal into their new armory container.
Our youngest daughter is attending Covenant College just minutes away, so she come over to play and join us for lunch. I’m glad she lives near her big sister; they’ve always been close. They get to spend time together fairly often and attend the same church. It’s even more fun that we get to see them both when we come to town!
We had planned to ride bikes, but the weather didn’t cooperate (rained off and on), so we played at the house until time to go to downtown Chattanooga for lunch. The boys find it very exciting to go to a restaurant downtown for cheeseburgers! And, of course, granddad is glad to fulfill their every request.
On the way downtown, we stopped to see Mark and Meredith’s new old house. They have wanted a new home for a while and have been looking. With four children, they need a larger home. They’ve had their eye on one particular home…it has been vacant for twelve years. They’ve prayed and waited. Just two weeks ago, they were able to close on it! It is perfect for them! Or it will be.
It needs a bunch of work like a new roof, kitchen, and flooring, but it has a great floor plan in a wonderful neighborhood. Our son-in-law knows how to do what needs to be done and is very capable. The yard is large and flat, which is hard to find on a mountain. The children will love playing outside, and there is a nice screened porch which I hope to enjoy on evenings when I visit next fall.
Granddad helped Elijah with the giant teepee he is building in their new back yard.
We had lunch downtown then went back home where everyone had nap time. Including me. Granddad and Lucy had a nap on the couch. This is of my favorite pictures!
After playing and visiting a bit more, Ron and I went to eat an early supper/snack in the dining hall at Covenant College with Margaret and some of her friends. I keep forgetting that she goes by Maggie at school! One of her friends told her she’s now going to call her Margaret after hearing us call her that. Oops!
We wanted to see her dorm room, but ran out of time. Maybe tomorrow. Last semester she was in an apartment on campus. She moved into the dorms after Christmas, and we haven’t been here since, so haven’t seenher dorm room. I was glad to meet more of her friends.
We left campus and headed south to Dalton, GA, to meet two dear friends we’ve known for sixteen years. Paul and Nanette came up from Atlanta to have a late dinner with us. I appreciate their willingness to drive an hour and a half. We knew them from home schooling together when we lived in north Georgia, but we are part of the fraternity of grieving parents together as well.
They lost their Katie almost two years ago in a biking accident. When I heard about their loss, I contacted them, offering whatever help I could. I told them about While We’re Waiting. Though I was only eight months farther down the grief trail, I was willing to…well…to simply be available. We’ve chatted on the phone and via text many times since then. It was wonderful to get together in person and hug them!
I’ve learned these past two years that spending time with other parents who truly understand what it’s like to lose a child helps me. It is an important part of my healing journey. I’ve also learned that I am able to help others heal.
Isn’t that how the Body of Christ is supposed to work? We help one another?
Plus, it’s fun to laugh with old friends and talk about all our kids and grand babies!
Today was a very good day.
Star Date 3/20/16
Sunday, Baptism Day!
A very special day for Lucy!
Our daughter and her family are members of a Presbyterian church (PCA). They practice infant baptism. We were thrilled to be able to here for this beautiful service. Mark’s mom and grandmother also joined us for the service. We took some family pictures afterward. Getting a good photo with four young children is not easy! Especially after a church service when they are tired and hungry. This is the best I could get.
I wish I could describe the way Rock Creek Fellowship does baptisms. It is so special and moving. One of my favorite things is that, at the end, Pastor Eric carries the baby throughout the congression so we can all see her beautiful face while we sing “Jesus Loves Me”. And yes, I cried. Just a little.
We stopped by the college to see Maggie’s dorm room and walk around a bit on the way home from church. We also got to see where she conducts her business.
Maggie teaches gymnastics. She rented an empty building and uses the basement for her classes. It’s been a great way to earn money for college! A new church has taken the building over starting next fall, but they are going to let her continue to use the basement for her classes.
Maggie, Ron, and I joined Meredith and her family for lunch after church. They are fun to be with. The boys are well-behaved and kind. We laugh and enjoy each one another. As we were finishing, the older boys asked Granddad to please go play outside with them. They pretended to be dragons fighting off something or other.
Too soon it was time to say goodbye. Hugs and kisses all around. Then tears. I saved those until we were in the car driving away. Ron reminded me that we will be back in about six weeks.
A quick three hour trip brought us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where we had dinner with our friends Gary and Patty. We’ve known them since 1997! We’ve watched each other’s kids grow up. We’ve shared joys and sorrows. Many of the pictures I’ve used in this blog are from Gary; he’s a professional photographer and was kind enough to provide me some photos when I needed them.
I watched my friend Patty grieve the loss of their darling two year old Reese. She walked through grief with grace, faith, and strength. Gary and Patty were one of my first calls that Tuesday morning when we learned of our own loss just a couple of years later. She helped me know that I would survive the loss of my son.
I love that our travels allow us to visit friends along the way. And so many of them really are along the way! Depending on the route we take, that is. We could take I-40 or I-20 home. Either way gets us there. So why not take the southern route and stop in to see friends?
Friendship takes effort, and good friendships are worth every bit of effort they require.
We are spending the night in the home town of Alabama University. Roll Tide. I think that’s what they say here. Or is it go Tigers?
Star Date 3/22/16
Monday, The final leg of this trip
Success! First thing! Well, third thing.
First success: I woke up alive. I’m grateful when that happens each day.
Second success: we had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel. One of the perks of being a Hilton Honors Diamond Member is the free breakfast at Hilton Garden Inns – made to order omelette, fresh fruit, pancakes…yum!
This is our third success:
With a twelve hour journey ahead of us, and many great successes behind us, we hit the road. Fortunately, the journey was not very exciting. The countryside is beautiful this time of year with all the new growth sprouting. It was a clear day and traffic was light, other than through large cities.
A few hours into our trip I got a text from our son-in-law. Here’s what I shared about it on Facebook:
One of the joys of being a grandparent: Bringing silly gifts to the grandkids.
This time we brought each boy a bag of poop – Beaver Poop, Polar Bear Poop, and Moose Poop – from Canada. They are chocolate covered nuts of different varieties.
Little boys like poop jokes.
They each got to eat only one piece of poop from the bag they got when they opened their surprise (since it was just before time to eat lunch on Saturday).
They’ve been sharing the poop since then. Meredith is a good mom who teaches them to share and doesn’t let her boys eat a large bag of poop all in one sitting.
So apparently, today at lunch, four year old Colin asked, “This time, can I have my own poop?”
Thanks, Mark, for sharing fun stories with us even after we leave.
And thanks for letting us be “those grandparents”.
In case you’ve lost track, during this nineteen day/eighteen night road trip, we have slept in twelve hotels and been through the following states plus Canada:
Traveling with my husband on these trips is hard at times and fun at times. The reason he travels is business. That is his main focus. I’m really just along for the ride, to be be with my love, and to help when I can. We manage to find time for joy, laughter, fun, and visiting with friends along the way.
Maybe that’s kind of like life.
As a Christian, a Disciple of Christ, we are to be about the Father’s business first and foremost. Along the way, we experience joy, laughter, fun, and fellowship with other believers. And just like on this trip, we may have unexpected issues (tires blow and someone may bump us hard enough to cause damage). But a little suffering doesn’t mean we aren’t loved or that we won’t reach our final destination.
Thanks for following my Trip Logs. I’ll be at home for the next few weeks catching up on laundry, sorting through piles of mail, mowing my property, and playing with my puppies.
Our next trip will be five weeks! What do you think? Should I write Trip Log 2.0 for that trip? Should I post them weekly like this time? Or daily? Or not at all? Let me know your thoughts. I’ll read them tomorrow.
For now, I’m climbing into my own bed! Good night.