I left all my home décor in the basement in Georgia, but still managed to get a little bit of fall onto my mantle thanks to our recent trip back home. My mom gave each of the kids a painted pumpkin face with a tall, skinny hat and I combined those with some baby pumpkins we bought at Bert’s. It looks cute! And although I’ve never been one to favor white painted walls and a white mantle, it’s growing on me. It certainly makes any color I have in the room stand out beautifully.
Friday afternoon our homeschool group had a Park Day. We decided to go and try to make some new friends. It was a lot of fun and thankfully, the hot and humid weather pattern has given way to really beautiful, sunny days here.
As Emery ran around playing tag and Savannah shyly claimed her own spot on the swings, I talked with some sweet ladies about the ins and outs of homeschooling in Florida, how soon Trader Joe’s would be opening, and where to find the nearest Chickfila.
One topic that came up more than once was a local program called Saints International. The moms I spoke to couldn’t say enough good things about this program, which is similar to a PE class for homeschool kids. As I watched Emery running, playing, and sweating, it sounded like something he would truly love.
Before the park day was over, we were invited to sit at a table with a family who had extra tickets to the Saints International fundraiser that night. And FUN it was! The evening started with a silent auction and spaghetti dinner, but quickly moved to a time to get autographs from Ex-Pro ball players who now work for FCA. After that they brought out comedian Tom Toombs who had us all in stitches with his crazy antics!
For me though, the best part of the night was listening to Coach Rick, the guy who started the program almost 20 years ago with only 2 other people and 8 kids. This program now has locations all over Florida, with some in California, Guatemala, Zambia, and Kenya! This man’s heart for the Lord is amazing! You can hear his love for others in the way he speaks and he absolutely radiates joy. I am humbled at the slow and steady ways that the Lord is guiding me down here. Putting people in places I wouldn’t expect, to gently lead us where we need to be.
In continuing with The Good Morning Girls bible study, today we read Genesis 19. It’s not the most uplifting portion of the old testament. This is where the Lord has decided Sodom and Gomorrah are wicked beyond repair and the He’s going to destroy them once and for all. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, has made his home in Sodom and as 2 angels go in to save him, the menfolk try to molest them, Lot offers up his daughters to the perverts instead, and then he hesitates to leave town in time to save his family! Yikes!!! And even worse is the last part of the chapter, when Lot’s daughters, who are getting older and whose father has not found them suitable husbands, takes the matter of preserving their family line into their own hands by getting their dad drunk and sleeping with him.
So why did the angels go in to save Lot? It tells us in verse 29, “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham, and He brought Lot out of the catastrophe…” He remembered Abraham. It doesn’t say he remembered Lot. Lot was saved because of Abraham. It’s was Abraham’s faithfulness and prayers that spared his nephew.
Today I’m reminded how important my prayers are for other people. My faithfulness will be extended to those I love. And I also thought about all those who have prayed for me over the years. During times when I strayed from the faith, their prayers were heard and God brought me back to Himself. Thankful this morning for a God who is loving and patient and merciful to those who love Him.
Since our family usually has an annual Fall Getaway, and since I was in no hurry to get back to Florida, my parents rented a cabin near Valdosta for our yearly trip. As we made our way back down south, we found out the Georgia National Fair was going on and it was, quite literally, a stones-throw from the interstate. My kids had never been to a fair, and I hadn’t been since high school, so we decided to stop in for a few hours.
It was pretty much as I remembered. We strolled through the barns and saw cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens. The kids rode paddleboats with my parents and then hopped on the tilt-a-whirl, swings, bumper cars, roller coasters, and ran through a fun house! It was so much fun I hated to leave, but it was getting dark and we still had to find our cabin which, by what the owner told us, was a little remote.
And she was right! Finding the cabin at night proved to be an adventure requiring us to turn around a couple times, but once we found it, we were delighted! It was so nice and beautiful and quiet! The perfect spot for a family retreat and recharge. We sat out at the dock, fished, did puzzles on the back porch and played games at night. One night we had a bonfire, which was great for keeping the bugs away! (I can officially say that I now know exactly where the “gnat line” is that my husband is always referring to!!!)
Papa Jim met us there and brought his “Spider” (motorcycle), so we made several trips around Cherry Lake. Between riding his bike and giving pushes on the rope swing, I think the kids wore poor Papa out!
The weekend was going by quickly and we knew we’d have to say goodbye soon, so we wanted to do one more fun thing before going back home. We decided to go to Wild Adventures theme park. Unfortunately, we went a little late in the day and didn’t get to stay too long, but we were there long enough ride a few more rides and witness my crazy dad ride Geronimo, the bungee thing that lifted him about 180 feet before dropping him. YIKES! Not for me… but he liked it and said the only bad part was waiting in line so long. LOL…
Between appointments, a familiar church service, lunch with friends, a day trip to the mountains, and a weekend in a cabin with family, I’d call our week of fall break successful. Now, if I could just get back into the swing of things at home. Hmmmmm…. so much easier said than done! Right, kids? Kids??? Hello? Time for school. Kids?????
Our trip to Georgia mainly revolved around a visit to the orthodontist and a much needed hair appointment for myself, but before heading back to the land of endless summer, I wanted to soak up some cool mountain air with some of our bestest friends.
We started the day at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville. This was a place I had heard of for years but never been to before. There were rows upon rows upon ROWS of all sorts of pumpkins. Huge and tiny, orange and white, edible and non-edible.
There was a hayride and several places for photo ops. Not to mention, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, BACON CHEDDAR CHEESE POPCORN (oh my!!!), and the list of goodies goes on and on.
After a couple hours at Burt’s, we meandered down the road to BJ Reece Apple Orchard. Here we had a picnic lunch followed by picking our own apples. And once again, we stopped by the bakery for some apple cider donuts, apple bread, apple muffins and ice cold cider before packing up and driving home.
As I made our way back I couldn’t help but think about how blessed I am by these lady friends of mine. They have encouraged me, laughed with me, cried with me, and just done LIFE with me. I love them and their kids. And as much as I know I need to meet new friends in Florida, I can’t help but look forward to December when I will see these precious faces once again.