My Surprising Life Hodgepodge

1. What’s surprised you most about your life or life in general? 
Looking back the things that have surprised me most in life are the people God has put in my life, the places and adventures I have enjoyed and the protection from God that I benefited from on these adventures.
Here’s a short list of some surprises in my life:
That God brought Dear and I together during our time as part of a Christian Rock Band performing in the U.S. and Great Britain.
That we had three children.
That we moved to Washington State away from all our extended family for Dear to pursue a whole new career.
That our three children married helpmates who love God and we’ve enjoyed so many adventures with all of them.
That through my blogging experience God blessed me with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Who would have guessed I would be part of this group of women who love God, their families, are growing disciples of Jesus and who love to feed orphans and widows with our royalties? The adventures I’ve had with this group alone is mind boggling.
That we are now enjoying our first little grand.
That it looks like we’ll be moving away from the City to the Country. I’ve been a city mouse all my life…
That God is good to me and has surprised me my whole life long.
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin pie…you have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
It’s a toss up between butternut squash soup and sweet potato fries.

3. What’s a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?

I went to Goodreads and looked at their list of top 200 books from Washington State and I haven’t read even one. My daughter read all the Twilight series. The top votes went to Snow Falling on Cedars. The only book on the list that looks interesting to me is The Boys in the Boat.
4. There are 60 days until Christmas…have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?

No, I have not shopped at all yet. We have just had our family discussion on what Christmas will look like this year. The only thing that is organized for the holidays is the fact that I have everything in the attic in it’s proper containers. The holidays that I choose to gather decor for have their own bins, etc. I hope our kitchen will be completed before Thanksgiving or before Christmas.

5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you’d like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

SeaJack #6 010The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis’s Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee’s Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)

How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?

SeaJack #6 025Back in May of 2014 our daughter and I drove from Seattle to Jacksonville, North Carolina to set her up in an apartment just before her Marine husband returned from a long tour of duty in Afghanistan. We drove through part of Tennessee to get to North Carolina. Our first stop was Hendersonville to spend the night at the home of one of Andrew’s Marine buddies who was in Afghanistan with him. The next day we drove through part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and had a sandwich in Gatlinburg. We drove through Pigeon Forge to get to Gatlinburg. That is one weird town. Click here and you’ll see my post from our drive through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

I’ll have to pass on traveling to Tennessee again.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Mommy and Addy. We had 7 days enjoying her and watching her every move from October 12-19. She cut her first tooth upon turning 7 months old.

Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond who asks the questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge. And thank you to everyone who took the time to read my answers. I appreciate your time and comments.

 

Road Trip Re-Cap

It’s time for ABC Wednesday and we are on the letter R.

Thank you to the ABC team!

I’ll share a few snapshots of my daughter and my road trip across the U.S.A. The reason for our road trip was to return her and her car to Jacksonville, North Carolina to be ready for her husband’s return from Afghanistan. The reunion will be rewarding for them. We left Seattle on April 27th and arrived at our final destination on May 4th.

In the meantime it’s interesting living in a Marine populated city with license plates from all over the U.S.A. I will leave Jacksonville on Thursday and re-unite with my Dear in Orlando, Florida for a conference he is attending and then finally be back home later in May.

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Day one on the road. We stopped in Spokane Valley for lunch with my son and his girl friend and then carried on.

P1050070Day one we drove across Washington and Idaho and into Montana!

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Day two started with snow in Bozeman, Montana. Retreating was not an option so we returned to the road hoping for good traction and no sliding on the road.

SeaJack #2 009Day two ended in Rapid City, South Dakota. We drove across Montana, down into Wyoming and across to South Dakota. Three states a day became our road trip theme. The other theme we did not want to repeat was snow but when we woke up in Rapid City to start our third day on the road snow was whipping side ways in some extreme wind conditions. Again retreat was not an option.

P1050082We learned to rely on Rest areas in many states across the U.S.A. They appeared just when we needed them most and they were all clean and well maintained. This is how the snow was sticking because of the severe winds in and around Rapid City.

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Many times along the roads that were unknown to us our minds recalled the reassuring verses in the New Testament from Matthew that read…

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

I also would sing in my head…His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

P1050086Day three ended in Nebraska which means we traveled across South Dakota, into Iowa, and finished in Nebraska.

P1050111Day four we left Nebraska, entered Iowa again, and headed to Kansas City Missouri to meet up with a bloggy friend for RIBS!

Collages7After a great lunch and meeting Pam face to face along with her daughter we continued on to our stop for the night which would be just outside St. Louis, Missouri in the state of Illinois.  Day four ended up being a four state day!

P1050182On Day five our goal was to reach Hendersonville, Tennessee. We traveled along some rock lined highways and other areas full of green trees from Illinois into Kentucky and then down to Tennessee.

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On day Six we would only travel in two states Tennessee and North Carolina. Our goal was to take a scenic road to Asheville, North Carolina nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a two day retreat and rest before we traveled the final five hours to Jacksonville, North Carolina (Camp Lejeune Marine Base).

SeaJack #6 010Our scenic route took us through some towns that surprised us with their weird attractions not so much rural charm.

SeaJack #6 019Finally after passing a few attractions like these in Pigeon Forge we entered some refreshing views like these.

SeaJack #6 027We were rewarded after our sixth day of travel with dinner at the Omni Grove in Asheville, North Carolina with beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

SeaJack #6 126 If you’d like to see more photos from this grand Inn click here.

Biltmore 066Our seventh day was spent at the Biltmore Estate and Gardens. The azaleas at the Biltmore were in their glory. I will be posting more about our day at the Biltmore in the future.

P1050206On day eight of our travels we reached our final destination in Jacksonville, North Carolina, home of MCCS Camp Lejeune. We checked into our hotel and started the planning lists for securing an apartment asap and setting up a temporary home for Katie and Andrew upon Andrew’s return and homecoming from Afghanistan. I’m happy to report that I’m preparing this post from that apartment with wifi and all the bare essentials are in place for Katie and Andrew to live comfortably for the next few months. I might have even lost a pound or two carrying boxes up the three flights of stairs to their third floor apartment. (no elevators)

Road trip mission accomplished. Semper Fi!

Relief and Rejoicing upon Andrew’s Return soon to commence!

 

SeaJack #6 The Smoky Mountain Detour…

We left Hendersonville, Tennessee after a stop at Starbucks and filling up our gas tank at a Kroeger Grocery store Station. Kroeger in Washington is either our Fred Meyer stores or our QFC stores.

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Right about here on the road our clocks turned forward an hour and we were now in the Eastern Time Zone!

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SeaJack #6 008We really weren’t prepared for our drive through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge and the strange sights we would see.

SeaJack #6 010This was promising but then we drove into the bizarre world of Pigeon Forge.

SeaJack #6 014What!?

SeaJack #6 016The Hatfields and the McCoys!

SeaJack #6 017The Titanic?

SeaJack #6 019We weren’t able to make it to Rushmore but this did not make up for it!

SeaJack #6 023A Bavarian Denny’s? This town had an amazing amount of dinner theaters of different genres to experience. There were some great looking miniature golf properties but so many other tacky unusual properties.

SeaJack #6 025We did not divert our path further to go to Dollywood.

SeaJack #6 027Now this was more like it. This was the scenery we were expecting on our Smoky Mountain Detour.

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SeaJack #6 035This was in the town of Gatlinburg. This town had a lot of candy shops, donut shops, fudge shops, taffy shops and Whiskey shops.

SeaJack #6 034Ripley’s Aquarium was also located here. I’m scared to think of what kind of creatures you would see in there.

SeaJack #6 053We bought a sandwich here and headed out to our destination on this day which was Asheville, North Carolina.

SeaJack #6 112We laughed real hard when we crossed this river 8 times during our detour!

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SeaJack #6 117We made it to Asheville at 5:30, checked into our hotel and then got ready for our dinner reservation at the Omni Grove Hotel on their Sunset Terrace. That experience will be a future post!

We are so happy to be here in Asheville for a two day stretch. We spent most of the day at the Biltmore Estate properties today and walked our feet off. We are chilling in our hotel room tonight having a picnic in our room instead of heading out to eat. The weather was beautiful today. Tomorrow we drive our final miles on this road trip across the U.S.A.

Thanks to all of you bloggy friends for following along with us on this journey across the U.S.A.

SeaJack Road Trip Day #5

On day 5 we started in Illinois and backtracked to St. Louis, Missouri so we could investigate the Bellefontaine Cemetery. It was worth back tracking for. We spent about 3 hours at the cemetery and I’ll devote a whole post later to this beautiful place filled with so much history. When we were done at the Cemetery we headed east again to Illinois and then crossed into Kentucky and made it to our Tennessee destination for the night at 5:30. Here are a few shots from the road.

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I have so much to share from Bellefontaine.

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Our day #5 on the road was Thursday May 1st. We started in Illinois, traveled back to Missouri, back to Illinois, then to Kentucky and finally ended up in Tennessee.

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Kentucky

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Tennessee

On Thursday evening we had dinner with Andrew’s best man’s mom in Hendersonville, Tennessee. We were given a nice place to lay our heads and headed out on Friday morning for Asheville, North Carolina via a scenic route that took us through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg next to the Great Smoky Mountains.

We are thankful to be so far into our journey safe and sound. Tomorrow we stay put right here in Asheville. I’ll be sharing all about our time soon. We traveled from the central time zone to the eastern time zone today.

Hope May has started out well for all of you!