30 July 2013

Westward Ho!!

We landed in Detroit on June 18th. June 21st, we were back on the road, headed west. We modified our original plans to travel through Nebraska and Colorado and headed south to S. Illinois, where Richelle's grandparents live. We wanted to stop in and say "Hey," since it had been over three years since we'd last seen them.

We were planning to camp our way across the country, but after driving a chunk of the day and then hanging out with my grandparents all afternoon and a chunk of the evening, we splurged on a hotel and figured that would get us on the road more quickly in the morning. The hotel also provided a breakfast buffet with the room - Belgian waffles and all sorts of other wonderful stuff.

We headed across southern Missouri and on into Oklahoma. I grew up in Oklahoma - and it was wonderful to see the fields of wildflowers, rolling plains... and, of course, feel the wind!

People often ask us how our kids do with all the traveling.

Most of the time they do really well. Teens are known to get "teenish" from time to time. Littles get whiny occasionally. Middles are prone to argue and fight if it has been too long between real breaks. Synchronizing bathroom breaks is a hit and miss sort of deal... usually miss and there are days we stop every other exit - or at least that's what if feels like.

But, for the most part, they yatter and chatter, sing, tease, tickle, play computer games, follow our progress on the map, sleep, read... and beg to stop at McDonalds every time they see a sign!


(Yep... Tim taking a break and letting me drive the van for awhile. He probably has no clue Anna snapped this photo. Hopefully, he'll not be too grumpy about me posting it...)

Horses often prompted high pitched girlie exclamations from the back seat, while Tim was more inclined to remark on the clouds... the hay bales... the rock and land formations...

And how could I forget? There was one other activity that most of our gang pursued while we were traveling...

Trying to get passing truckers to honk! Mary Michelle and Elsie Mae were super enthusiastic!

Mostly I enjoyed the time to talk with my hubby and Brendan (who sat right behind me), delighted in the car seat chatter and funny conversations, and allowed my eyes to drink in the lovely (IMHO) scenery and skies from the "land of my youth."

Nearly 700 miles later, however, we were all thankful to reach our W. Oklahoma campground and settle in for the night!

29 July 2013

Encountering Jesus ~ "When did you get here?"

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” (John 6.22-25)
While driving through MOUNTAINS in northeastern Utah and western Wyoming this past month, Tim saw a sign for trail rides. With some internet searching followed up by calling around while sitting sipping mocha frappes at McD's (i.e. access to Wifi), Tim located a one hour trail ride for riders aged 5 and older in the Grand Tetons. The kids were unanimous... (Mary Michelle didn't get to ride on the trail, she did get to ride Jethro the mule around the pasture at the trail head) and early one morning, away they went.

They had a great time! And when they had dismounted the horses, Jonathan and particularly Elsie Mae were surprised to walk into the office to see a slide show of pictures playing on the computer - a slide show that contained the above photos... photos of them.

The first question to the lady playing the slide show? 

"How'd you do that? Be here and get there all at the same time?"

And we laughed - mainly because we knew and some had seen her racing her bike between the office and those preset photo stations!

When I read the above passage in John, it reminded me, though, of that incredulous look on the face of my two littles as they tried to comprehend the how...

And it has had me thinking and meditating on a thought I've probably needed to just hold close and let minister to me for awhile - without a whole lot of study and dissecting and discussion to go along. That truth - that Jesus is anywhere with me, regardless of the where... that He promises His Presence even when I don't always sense it... and that He's not just with me but with anyone who has called upon His Name for forgiveness and salvation - is an immensely comforting one for me these days. In seasons of doubt, insecurity, fatigue, fearfulness, I may not feel like I'm encountering Jesus anywhere.

But that's okay because He promises to be near, to be with me, regardless of whether I know it, or sense it, or even believe it... or not ~

So there will always be those sometimes moments when I'm tempted to ask Him, "When did you get here?"

But I already know His answer: "I was, I am and I will always be, here... wherever that here might happen to be."

this week's gratitude list

(#'s 4013 - 4042)

He is @ my here and always will be

my Midland friends... I've missed them

family reunions

paddling a canoe while pulling kids in tubes across a lake

Sleeping Bear

cousins, cousins and more cousins

figuring out why the internet wasn't working

missionary homes for people like us to live in

enjoying hanging out with siblings/in-laws

lunch with Pastor Dan and Cheryl

class reunions

new trucks

Goodwill/Salvation Army stores... we've found some awesome deals on winter coats and flannel shirts for the school kids

payment plans


wild blackberries collected on a whim... and the resulting blackberry pie

campfires and long talks

visits at the lake with dear friends

visits over pizza with new friends

cousins who "text" stalk and then bear hug when they see us

public libraries

discovering the cuteness of chinchillas with Mary Michelle

sleeping on a bed again... after so many weeks of camping... even though it takes getting used to, as crazy as THAT sounds

being able to catch up on blogs again

school enrollments taken care of

getting my boy ready for college

thinking about drivers' training courses

Michigan weather variabilities and extremes

the totally unexpected gift of a week at camp for our big girls

friends and family helping out with Bren's open house - 'specially since I'm so clueless about this whole scenario

Ten most recent posts in this series: 

28 July 2013

And really, could we leave without a meal of fish and chips?

Our last night in Scotland, we walked from our airport to a highly recommended fish and chips carryout place. We figured we'd grab our food and walk around the corner to Fountain Park where we could sit and eat before heading back to the hotel to finish showering munchkins and other assorted Wrightlings as well as complete the packing of our 20ish suitcases. 

It took us about 20 minutes to get to the restaurant, and by that time, M&M had fallen asleep while riding in her stroller.

Doesn't that look delish? It was!

Ho...ho...ho...hot  french fries chips!

This statue of Robert Burns was a dominant feature in Fountain Park.

The fountain in the center of the park was another key feature... although the park and the fountain looked a bit neglected and the fountain wasn't working... would've been kinda cool if it had been, at least that was the opinion of the younger Wrightlings.

And just like any picnic in the park in any big city... 
we had company begging for a few handouts!

Fortunately these guys were rather entertaining to watch.

After we cleaned up our mess, let the kids run and play for a few, it was time to head home... and sadly... time to bring our 

to a close.

Although I'm quite sure we'd all do it again, in a heartbeat!


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