Our Annual Family Vacation//Part One

For those of you who knew when we went out-of-town for vacation and when we arrived home, it’s probably a shocker to see that it took this long for the posts to make it to the blog! But for those of you who don’t know . . . well, what you don’t know can’t hurt you :)   I could give you an excuse, except that I don’t have one.  Getting a family of twelve back on normal schedule, jumping into the daily grind and catching up on the work around the farm truly is a time-consuming task and while I love blogging, it just doesn’t hit the top of the priority list.  I have also been busy helping a friend build her website – Huzzah! – and that takes most of my spare time.  {But it’s worth it. I can’t wait to share it with you all!}

We have so much for which to thank the Lord.  Our annual vacation was above and beyond all of our hopes and we were blessed with good weather, new friends and so, so many memories.  Praise the Lord!

First, I am going to share photos from our couple days that we spent together as a family, traipsing around Tennessee and North Carolina.  The Smoky Mountains were absolutely gorgeous!

 

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After a long drive and hike, we were rewarded by this tower from which you could look over the Smoky Mountain National Park.  Clingman's Dome was a huge favorite!

After a long drive and hike, we were rewarded by this tower from which you could look over the Smoky Mountain National Park. Clingman’s Dome was a huge favorite!

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We were also able to enjoy a hike which contained three waterfalls one day.  That was a lot of cold water!

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We also took an afternoon to visit Gatlinburg.  While most of us preferred the quiet nature hikes and beautiful mountains, there were a few who enjoyed the sights and sounds of this famous tourist destination.

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We were very incomplete as a family without Joshua.  He had to stay home and study for a college test the first half of the week.  Praise the Lord that he was able to drive down and spend an absolutely amazing and refreshing weekend with us!  What happened?  You’ll have to wait for Part Two!

 

Saturday Projects & an Evening Outing

I don’t know about the rest of you, but Saturday is typically a work day for the Meggs Family.  That’s when we try to tackle some projects and cross a few things off of our ever-growing “to-do” list.
Painting our new school room had been on the list of things to do for a while but we knew that until we made it a top priority, it wouldn’t get done.  Because there are always pressing tasks on hand, the “decorating” and “un-necessary” projects often get bumped down the list or in some cases, completely off the list!
But this past Saturday was different.  The years of chores have begun to mellow us.  Dad and Mom are cultivating their creative side while we children are learning how to efficiently use our energy.  We splurged.  The artsy spirit in us stirred; we purchased a can of completely un-necessary, creamy yellow paint.  We dug up our old paint brushes and brought out our old paint stirrer.  We opened that can of paint and fearlessly covered our new school room walls with the sunshine substance.  It completely transformed the room!

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After the job was completed and we had all admired it, {you guessed it} we splurged again.  We took a break, bought some pizza and went to the nearby highschool track.  It’s one of our favorite places; those who want to excercise can run or walk, those who want to play a game have access to the large field in the inside of the track {favorite games include soccer and football}, those who would rather sit and talk have the bleachers at their disposal and the adventurers who seek for challenges can hike the mountain behind the track.  Boredom does not exist there.
We ate dinner and then some of us hiked to the top of the mountain quickly to catch the sunset.  It was worth it.

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Listening to Elise play the pennywhistle while feeling the wind softly blow and watching the sunset.

Listening to Elise play the pennywhistle while feeling the wind softly blow and watching the sunset.

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Take delight in the simple things.  A can of creamy yellow paint — isn’t it wonderful that God made color?  A dinner which you didn’t have to make — thank the Lord for others who did the work!  An evening spent laughing with your family — some day they won’t be there and you will wish they were.  Sitting quietly and listening to nature as the world goes to sleep — an excellent opportunity to commune with and praise the Lord.

How many small and simple, yet significant things took place during your day?  Why don’t you take a moment to thank the Lord for them?

                         “What if you woke up tomorrow with only what you had thanked God for today?” ~ Author Unknown.

 

24 Years!

Happy Anniversary to our wonderful parents!  24 years is a testimony of God’s abundant guidance, mercy and grace!
You two are my heroes — I know you aren’t perfect, but you acknowledge your mistakes and seek to learn from them.  You not only strive to be a godly example to all of us, but you pray for each of we children individually and instruct us in the way that we should go.  I know that you love each other and honor your vows before God.  
Thank you for living a life that glorifies God and being an example I want to follow.  I love you! 

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Here We Go A’Camping!

Before you read this post, you need to understand some of our feelings about camping.  You can find them all right here. :)
The night before we left for VA Beach, our destination, I was sitting on a hay bale in a cow pasture enjoying ice cream (A very rustic Ice Cream Social experience with church family and friends . . . .   and yes, I will hopefully post about that soon!) and listening to my brothers and their friends talk about a recent campout.  One of them mentioned that he was allergic to camping.  I laughed, finished my ice cream and did not even give it a second thought.  Actually, that’s not entirely correct; I did . . . but not until several days later, well into camping.  Suddenly, I knew what he was talking about.
We like to tease that rain follows us everywhere we go.  The weather can be perfect, but if we choose to go camping, suddenly, it is going to rain.  We can’t escape it {we have tried!}, so rainy camping is the new normal for us.  Mom likes to joke that Texas would pay us to camp and end their droughts. ;)  This camping trip was no exception.
But, we try to be optimists and find something to Praise the Lord about in every circumstance . . .
So we ignored the wet sleeping bags {as best we could}, tried not to think about the low food supplies {there is limited packing space}, got used to travelling around in wet clothes {but brought lots of towels!}, smiled away the sunburn {which persisted in following us despite loads of sunscreen}, hoarded dry firewood {there were limited quantities}, got used to dark circles {and bad hair days =)}, etc.
I always forget about how much work it takes to make the wilderness home for twelve people for a week.  On top of that, close proximity bring out the inner man in all of us and ….. well, needless to say, Dad calls it a sanctifying experience.  It requires extra grace to overlook attitudes which result from long nights and little sleep.  It takes extra patience and longsuffering when spending long days in the car together.  We have learned that each of us have to make a choice; if everyone determines that they are going to do whatever it takes to love others, then camping trips can be really fun!  We see them not only as a family vacation, but a growing opportunity to learn vital life lessons on serving others.  We are not perfect and we certainly don’t have this down completely, but by God’s grace, I can look back over the years and say that each camping trip we have taken gets better than the one before!
As I sit here, sipping my coffee {you knew it, didn’t you?} and sorting through the pictures, I am reminded of the wonderful opportunity God gave us to spend time together before Joshua started his final year of Nursing School. {YAY!!}  He’s hoping to be able to get out of school one more time in September and join us for a week down in North Carolina . . . but that’s a story for another day — or should I say, a post for another day :) — so for now, just sit tight and enjoy glimpses of our week together in Va Beach.  {O, and did I mention that on the way home we visited dear friends who we hadn’t seen in a year??? SUPER PUMPED!!}
Camp Life . . .
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 Traveling in the Car . . .

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 Sightseeing . . . .

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Eating lunch near the naval base and watching the planes overhead!

Eating lunch near the naval base and watching the planes overhead!

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The camera happened to snap this just as a lightening flash tore across the sky . . . the streak in the center of the picture is how the camera lens interpreted the lightening!

The camera happened to snap this just as a lightening flash tore across the sky . . . the streak in the center of the picture is how the camera lens interpreted the lightening!

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Swimming . . .

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He wanted to go out in the waves with all the big kids . . . until one knocked him over!  He came running back for shore :)

He wanted to go out in the waves with all the big kids . . . until one knocked him over! He came running back for shore :)

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Some of us got a little serious over diving  . . .

Some of us got a little serious over diving . . .

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 Riding the Ferry . . .

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Nature and Animal Life . . .

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Other Snapshots . . .

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Having Brunch out one morning was a treat!

Having Brunch out one morning was a treat!

Wawa was our favorite go-to for coffee and soft pretzels!

Wawa was our favorite go-to for coffee and soft pretzels!

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We had interesting lunches one day . . . !

We had interesting lunches one day . . . !

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And, one of our favorites-of-all-times . . .
Stopping and seeing our dear friends, the Wilson Family!

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Playing a fun round of Train Wreck!!

Playing a fun round of Train Wreck!!

The funniest snapshot of the week? . . .
WE MADE IT!!!!

WE MADE IT!!!!