Two Tiaras and a Sword

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31, 2016

Everyone decided what we were going to wear last night, so this morning, was much better as far as getting everyone ready.

Sunday school was good.  We talked about suffering for righteousness sake. Very interesting conversation.

In the church service, My Prince preached on Giving Generously. How we should give bountifully, give purposefully and give cheerfully.  It was a good reminder to give with the right spirit and for the right purpose.  One of my favorite things that he said was that we give, not to get, but to be able to give more.  Great point.

We came home from church and had leftovers for lunch.  That was fine with me, because we had Mojo Chicken last night, and I have been hungry for that for several days now, so I did not mind eating it again today.

After lunch, the kids watched a movie, I worked on my Bible study, and My Prince took a nap. When I finished working on my Bible study, I did some work to get ready for my school year.  I can not believe that the summer will be over in one very fast week and we will be back at school.  It is hard to wrap my mind around.  We traveled so much this summer, that we barely had more than a three day at a time stretch at home.  It just wasn't the relaxing summer that we usually have.  So I am not ready for school to start, mainly because I feel like I need to rest a few days.  But I have things that I have to get done before now and next Monday, so I guess, ready or not, here we go!

My Prince left to go to the church a little early, and the kids were not far behind him because they had d-groups and choir.  One of my d-group members is out of town, so we opted to put off our meeting for tonight until Wednesday night, so that we can all be there for the discussion over the chapter that we have been studying.  After that, we should back on track for a while.

I used my hour alone before I had to go to church to work on some history presentations for my class. I am hoping to get all of the history ones done and try to get a little ahead in science before next week.

I got a good deal done on the history presentation.  It is amazing what you can do when there are NO distractions.

When it was time to go to church, I found my keys, but my car and house key were missing from my ring.  A while back My Prince lost his keys and borrowed took those two off of my key ring.  I looked where I thought my keys might be, and could not find them.  So I called My Prince.  He did not know where they were either.  He said he would send the Oldest Princess back to pick me up.  I kept looking.  I ended up finding them in one of the pockets of one of my bags.  So I texted the Oldest Princess to see if she was on her way to pick me up yet.  No answer.  So I waited, thinking that she might be driving and could not text me back.  After I had waited more than enough time for her to come and get me, I just decided to go on to the church.  As I was walking out to the car, I got a group text from My Prince to the Oldest Princess and me asking her if she could pick me up.  I quickly text that I had found my keys and was on my way.  The Youngest Princess was singing, and I did not want to miss it.

I got there about halfway through the first song.  So I didn't miss too much.  Our youth pastor preached and did a good job (even if he did pick on My Prince several times).

The Youngest Princess asked to go home with her friend and spend the night.  I told her she could. It is the little girl that the Oldest Princess babysits, so the Oldest Princess can watch the Youngest Princess tomorrow while I go to the school.

It is the last Sunday of the month, and our teens always go out to eat after the evening service of the last Sunday of the month.  And several of us parents usually go as well.  So we all went out to eat.  It was good to catch up with some friends that I feel like I haven't seen in forever, because we have all been so busy and going in so many different directions this summer.

About the time we got ready to leave, there was a lot of thunder and tons of lightning.  I was a little scared to cross the parking lot to get to the car with all of the lightning.  But we made it safely to the car.  I text both of the kids and told them not to stand around outside and talk when they got back to the church (they both rode the bus to the restaurant), but to get in their cars and get home quick, because that lightning was scary!  They were just a few minutes behind us.  Now we are all safely at the house.

My Prince is watching something about football on television.  The Young Prince is playing his Ukulele, and the Oldest Princess has gone to bed.  I am going to get off of here and continue working on my history presentations.

Until I blog again...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 28 - July 30, 2016

Thursday, July 28 - We got up and finished packing up our things and began cleaning the condo. When we got everything packed up and cleaned up, we got in the car.  The windows had a terrible film on them from all the salty sea air.  We went across to the gas station to fill up before our trip home.  My Prince was putting gas in the car, and the Young Prince took it upon himself to get out and wash all of the windows. I was proud that he saw something that needed to be done, and did it without being asked.

We hit the road headed for home.  I have a new app.  It is an app that my friend Special K told me about when we were in the mountains.  It is an app that works like a GPS.  You put in where you are going, and it gives you the best option for getting where you need to be.  But along the way, you and others before you mark hazards like cars on the side of the road or something in the road, or traffic or wrecks.  And the app warns you before you come up on such things.  You can mark that they are still there, or not there for those who are coming behind you.  The app will reroute you if there is a wreck or heavy traffic ahead.  We used the app on our way home from the beach, and My Prince became a believer.  He loves it now. I do too.  If you travel a lot, maybe you would like to try it too.  It is called Waze.

So, we made it home, and did a little unpacking and a little resting.  The Young Prince went to his first football practice as a senior.  My Prince went and got chicken fingers for dinner because we had nothing left in the house to eat.

After the Young Prince got home from practice, we all went to bed.

Friday, July 29 - We got up and all got ready to make some hospital visits.  We went to visit some friends of our family who's dad was involved in a head on collision a couple of weeks back.  We had been wanting to get up there and visit with them, but we have been running like crazy and have not been home long enough to go.  So we finally got a chance to get up there and see them.  When we got there, no one from the family was in the waiting room, so we walked back to the room to see if they were there.  Only his son-in-law was there, so My Prince and the Young Prince went in and talked to him for a few minutes.  The Oldest Princess, the Youngest Princess and I all stood outside the room. The set up of the rooms, around a long central desk, and the sights and the sounds, brought back very strong memories of the last few days of my Daddy's life in an ICU unit.  It was almost overwhelming. I had to force my mind to think of something else, so that I did not end up on the floor.  My Daddy died almost 16 years ago.  It is very strange how our minds work, and what triggers certain emotions. And how strong those emotions can be.  My Prince and the Young Prince came out, and the girls and I followed them back out to the waiting room.  And the emotions passed, and I was okay.

We got on the elevator, and went down several floors.  As our elevator doors opened, I saw people I knew - My friend and her kids getting on the elevator directly across from us.  We ran across and joined them in their elevator (probably scaring them to death as we did).  We went back up to the waiting room and visited with them for a little while.  It was good to see her and talk to her and hug her and let her know that we love them and we are praying for her Daddy to make a quick and full recovery.

Then we left and went to another hospital to visit another friend.  This friend went in for minor surgery and some things went really wrong.  Now she is in ICU as well.  I worked with her a few years back.  I taught her son in 5th grade. I see her and her husband when we do associational or regional Bible Drills, or Bible Drill workshops.  We met her mother-in-law who was sitting with her. She is a very sweet lady.  We talked with her for a few minutes and then prayed and left.

We then ran by a teacher supply store, because, well, school starts soon, and I feel like I should do something to start getting ready.  I had fun shopping, and the girls helped me pick out a few things.
Probably more than I needed to pick out, and definitely more than I needed to spend.  But it was fun!

Then we went and got a late lunch.  And came home just in time for the Young Prince to get ready for football practice.  The Oldest Princess went to babysit.  She brought the kids to our house, because we were all going to go to the school.  My Prince and I were going to walk the track, and the Oldest Princess and the Youngest Princess were going to play with the kids on the playground.  We got ready and went to the school.  My Prince and I walked a few laps, and then I decided to sit on the bleachers for a few minutes while My Prince ran a few laps.

I watched football practice for a few minutes until my phone rang.  It was my sister.  I talked to her for a few minutes before everyone was ready to leave. I tried to keep talking to her while we were leaving, but too much was going on, so we said goodbye.  It was good to talk to her for a few minutes anyway.  On the way home the Oldest Princess texted us and asked us if we would bring a coke and the Youngest Princess to her.  We did.

My Prince and I came home and My Prince grilled hot dogs and hamburgers.  The Young Prince got home and took a shower.  Dinner was ready, so he came down to eat when after he got cleaned up.

We watched a little TV.  Then My Prince went to study for a while.  I was falling asleep on the couch, so I decided to go on to bed.  I was asleep in a matter of minutes.  I did not know when the girls came home, or when My Prince came to bed.  I must have been gone.

Saturday, July 30 - I got up, and My Prince had already left to go to his small group meeting.  I began working on my blog in order to catch up.  I worked a little between blogging.

We had some sweet children - a brother and a sister - in our church who were having a lemonade stand to raise money for Operation Backpack.  Operation Backpack is a drive that our church is doing to have people fill backpacks with school supplies for children whose family might not have the money to buy them their school supplies.  We went by and bought some of course to help them make money.  It was a very sweet thing for them to do, and we were glad that we were home and able to help out a little.

After our lemonade stand stop, we headed to the birthday party of a brother/sister pair.  It was a swim party, and the Young Princess and her friend (who we picked up on the way) were chomping at the bit to get there.  When we did get there, I found out that my new student was there.  It was good to be able to meet her and her Dad in a relaxed, informal setting before school starts.  She will make the 10th girl in my class.  A class of 10 girls and no boys.  Should be an interesting year!  But I am a little excited about it.  To top it off, the Youngest Princess will be one of the 10, and several others are some of her very best friends.  I told some of the parents at the party, it will be like one huge slumber party. all. school. year. long.  And I have one more week of summer to prepare for it. Yikes!  Where did this summer go?!?

The Oldest Princess went with our youth pastor's wife and a friend to watch our youth pastor drive in a race.  It is about an hour away, so it will be late when she gets in.  The Young Prince is out running on the hills in the yard to help break in his new football cleats.  The Youngest Princess is watching her new favorite TV show, which is some kind of prank show.  And My Prince is about to grill chicken.  So I am going to get off of here and fry some okra and make some mac and cheese to go with the grilled chicken.

Until I blog again...

July 26 - July 27, 2016

Tuesday, July 26 - I woke up early, and got ready to head down to the beach.  I woke up the Youngest Princess, and she said she still wanted to go with me.  So I helped her get ready, and off we went. She was absolutely precious.  We set up our chairs, and then took a walk down the beach.  At one point she stopped me all excited, "Look, Mommy!"  There was a tiny fish laying on the sand.  He had washed up with the last wave and had been left behind.  She scooped him up in her sweet little hands, and I snapped a picture so her Daddy and brother and sister could see the fish she saved, and then she gently put him back in the water.

One of about 4 fish like this that she found and safely returned to the ocean. 

Our beautiful sunrise.

After that we walked a little in the opposite direction.  We found a tide pool, and I told her that often, you can find living things in the tide pools.  So we looked.  And she found this little cute guy.  Whom of course, she had to safely return to the ocean as well.

After each fish she saved, she would put her little arms in the air in a victory pose and say, "YEAH!" It was adorable!  And after all that fish saving, her hands smelled like she had handled giant sized fish.  I guess all fish smell, no matter what size they are.

A picture of her releasing a fish back into the ocean.

A sunrise selfie of my little beach buddy and me.

A storm in the distance, and the beach virtually all to ourselves.

Except for some very friendly seagulls who were hoping we had food.

It was very quiet and peaceful, and the Youngest Princess was cold because of the breeze.  So I unfolded a beach towel, and she curled up in my lap.  We talked for a few minutes.  She asked questions about my Mom and Dad.  She was born after my Daddy died and she never knew him, and my Mom died when she was only two, so she does not really remember her.  We talked about them for a little while.  At one point I told her that my Daddy was a very quiet man, and she said, "Oh, so not like me at all!"  I had to laugh.  He would have loved her!  Anyway, after a few minutes of talking, she got still and quiet, and eventually fell asleep.  I thought of Karen Kingsbury's book, Let Me Hold You Longer, and the fact that she is quickly growing up and that this might be the last opportunity I have to hold her like this, so I soaked in every last second of it.  And, while I was sitting there soaking it all in, an older lady walked up the beach alone.  She walked over to us with a smile on her face.  She said, "Would you mind if I just speak a blessing over you this morning?"  I told her I wouldn't mind a bit.  She stood and talked to me for a minute about how sweet it was to see me sitting there with my little one, and how I should enjoy it because they grow up so fast (was she reading my mind?!?) and then she told me to have a blessed day.  I wished her the same, and she walked away, stopping to speak briefly with each person she met.  I finally had to wake the Youngest Princess up, as much as I hated to, because I was afraid that storm was going to catch up to us.  So we went back to the condo, and quietly slipped into bed with My Prince.  She snuggled up to her Daddy then, and we all fell back asleep for a while.

After a quick nap, we all got up and got ready to go out to the beach for the day.  We decided to go down the beach a little way where it wasn't quite so crowded.  It was a little hike out there, but it was nice to have a little personal space.

The girls were working on a sandcastle, but the waves had other plans.

It would be beautiful and sunny one minute, and the next, a little shower would blow in.  It was very windy, and the surf was pretty strong.  Not good for much but relaxing and reading.  The Young Prince did a little skim boarding, since we were further down and there were not as many people around.  
The Youngest Princess remarked that since it was so windy, we could "chip surf" right there on the beach, and of course then we had to try it!  We had to send a picture to my niece, who originally taught us how to chip surf.  She thought it was awesome.

The rainy weather finally drove us back inside.  We decided to get ready and go to dinner.  This time, we picked a place where we had never been before.  It ended up being my favorite place.  As soon as we walked in the lady asked us how many were in our party.  She asked us to wait a minute.  A man walked up and told her there was a table available right then.  He did not wait for her to seat us, as she was busy doing something else, he just told us to follow him.  He cared that we were seated and seated quickly, and it showed in his actions.  The food was delicious!  The atmosphere was good.  We will definitely go back there.  If you want to know where it was, just ask me, I would be glad to tell you.  I ordered fried clam strips and fried shrimp (and yes, I ate some for you D!).  With new potatoes and fried okra.  

My dinner

We went to a couple of different stores to look for anklets, and we found several that we liked.  We all got different ones, instead of the same ones like usual.  The Young Prince found something for a friend, and the Oldest Princess found something that she had been looking for, and got it.  So we had a profitable little shopping trip.

After we shopped, we went back to the condo.  We played a few games, but we were all a little snippy with one another, and the game playing was not going so well.  So we stopped.  When it got dark enough to go crab hunting, we all went.  The Oldest Princess included this time.  We caught a bunch (I took a video, but no picture this time), and we had released them and made it back to the condo by ten o'clock due to the Oldest Princess's wishes. 

I asked who would like to join me in the morning for my sunrise walk.  And I had no takers.  Looks like I would be by myself for our last morning.

Wednesday, July 27 - 
I think heaven will be a lot like this ;-)!

Okay, not really!  I know that heaven will be way more than we can ask or imagine better than this, but while here on earth, the beach is my happy place.

I got up, took my towel, my chair, and my book, and spent the morning peacefully reflecting, praying and reading.  I got a little emotional thinking about the way things will soon be changing for our family.  I'm not a big fan of change.  I know it necessary for growth, and all that jazz, but I like my comfortable normal.  I like the way things are now.  Change brings uncertainties, and maybe that is what I don't like about it.  Over the last few weeks, I have been struggling.  I don't know if it is the change on the horizon that has me in a slump, or what.  I know that satan has been at work.  I have seen his hand.  And honestly, I have struggled over several things.  Little things, big things.  Thoughts and fears that I know are planted by satan, because they are not truth from God's Word.  So this morning while I sat, I allowed God to breathe peace and love and acceptance into my soul.  It was a sweet time of fellowship with God for me.  A time to just be still, and listen to His voice, that I have needed for a long time.  I could still use your prayers, and our family could use your prayers as we fight on the front lines in a spiritual battle against unseen powers.  It is real folks.  And we appreciate your prayers.

While I sat, I watched several little crabs disappear into their holes and then come out and throw a little load of sand out, and then disappear back into their holes.  It is cool to watch how they by instinct know how to build their little holes so they can sleep the day away and then come back out at night.  Just to entertain myself, I named the ones I could see: Gerald, Uncle Joe, and Little Jimmy.  I watched them until the guy with the tractor came out to "rake" the sand.  He raked over all their work. But it wasn't long before Gerald and Uncle Joe reappeared.  I never saw Little Jimmy again.  I did however see a huge crab about 15 feet away.  I got up so that I could get closer to get a picture of him for the kids.  I tried to keep my eye on him as I got closer, but he disappeared.  Then, I saw this in the sand:

It was definitely a large crab (the picture does not do it justice).  But I was not sure if it was the one I had been watching or not, or if this one was alive or not.  So I found a stick and gently poked it, while videoing with my phone, so if it was him, the kids could see how big he was, or if he ran up my leg, I could win America's Funniest Videos.  He was alive, and he was so fast that all I got was what looks like a little crab running down to the water.  So really this is all the evidence I have of my large crab sighting while on the beach by myself.  And like I said, the picture really does not do it justice.  You will just have to take my word for it.

Eventually the family joined me, and we decided that we liked going in during the lunch/afternoon hours and eating and resting and then coming back out to the beach for the evening.  So we hung out for a couple of hours as a family, and then went in to get ready to go out for lunch.  

One of our favorite restaurants had an all you can eat shrimp special, so we went there for lunch.  The Oldest Princess ordered grilled shrimp instead of fried and it was very good, but so spicy that she couldn't eat it.  We offered to order her something else, but she did not want us to. 

We stopped in at a surf shop that the Young Prince wanted to walk into.  On the way in, we saw this sign:

My Prince said that it was a good thing that we left our giraffe at home -Bahahaha!

When we got back to the condo, we all took an hour long nap, and then we hit the beach for our last afternoon.  We stayed until the sunset.  It was wonderful!

I asked the Young Prince to use his "go-go gadget arms" to take a beach selfie of all of us, so I would have at least one picture of all of us on the beach.  When you give your 17 year old son, who tends to be a clown from time to time, your phone to take a family selfie, this is what you might find on your camera roll a few days later when you are looking for pictures to add to your blog:

But, we all were there, I promise.  And these are the best family beach pictures I have to prove it.  All photo credits go the Young Prince - budding photographer extraordinaire.

We were missing our niece, who usually goes to the beach with us if possible, and we sent this to her so that we could tell her that even if she was not with us physically, she was with us in spirit.  If you know her, you will "get it".  I wished that we had thought of this earlier and had included the lid in every picture/activity we did.  We really did miss her and wish that she could have been with us.

The Young Prince and the Youngest Princess started working on a project about the time My Prince and I decided to take a sunset stroll down the beach.  As we walked, we talked about our children and the things they are facing and how satan is attacking in different areas, and how we can work together as parents to help them get through these times.  Again, if you would like to join us in prayer, we would greatly appreciate it.

A sunset selfie of My Prince and me.  Unfortunately, you can not see the beautiful sunset behind us.

But, this is what it looked like.

We walked back down the beach to join the kids and pack everything up to go in.  I hated to see our last day there come to an end, and life as we know it, with all the changes it is going to bring in the next few months continue.  But continue it must, so we will forge on, and make the best of it.

The Young Prince and the Youngest Princess had finished their project when we returned.
Crazy kids!

We packed everything back up, and everyone helped to fill the hole back up and pack the sand down. 
Then we went inside for dinner.  My Prince went and picked up Subway for us.

When it got dark, we went crab hunting one more time.  The Oldest Princess, again opted to stay inside.  We talked with mom who had twin boys that were about 5 years old.  They found a big crab and were screaming and carrying on, and the Young Prince went to help them catch it.  Once it was caught, they were afraid of it.  They only liked the little tiny ones.  So they let us keep it.  It was pretty cool to watch him.  I am fascinated by their eyes!  So cool how they are designed by God to live exactly where they live and how camouflaged they are.  I did get a picture of our catch this time. This was just before we released them and went in for the night.

Until I blog again...

July 24 - July 25, 2012

Sunday, July 24 - As best as I can remember, it was a normal Sunday.  A great day in the house of the Lord.  Our Sunday School teacher was out of town, and one of the members of the class taught our lesson.  It was good.  The morning service was good as well.

We went out to lunch after the service, and Grammy went with us.  The Oldest Princess was on her way home from the beach with our Youth Pastor and his wife and a friend, and Poppy was preaching out of town, so it was just My Prince, the Young Prince, the Youngest Princess, Grammy and I.

After lunch, we came home and I looked over my Bible study, My Prince did some studying as well, and the kids went up to their rooms to watch TV and rest until it was time to go back to church.

As we were walking out the door to go to church the Oldest Princess was walking in the door. Grammy had her car, so we let her stay home and wash a few things and repack, as we were leaving for the beach immediately after church.

For the first time in a while, all of our Sunday night group was going to be able to be there, so we met at our usual time. It was great to be back together again!  And after one more small delay this coming week, we should be back into our regular schedule.  I love our study, and I do so much better at actually getting it done when we are on a regular schedule.  So I am looking forward to being back in the routine again soon.

We had the Lord's Supper in our Sunday night service.  It was a sweet time of remembering all that Jesus did on the cross, so that we might have eternal life.  I always love the Lord's Supper services.

After church, we came home, changed clothes, picked up the Oldest Princess, and headed to the beach.

I refer to the Young Prince as having "go-go gadget arms" (a throwback to my days of being a huge Inspector Gadget fan during my late elementary years) because he is so long and lanky.  Well, we were in the car, and the Youngest Princess can not reach the cup holder when she is buckled in.  So she asked her brother to hand her her drink.  He replied with something like, "Are you completely helpless?"  To which she quickly replied, "No!  I just don't have go-go agit arms like you do."

We made a pit stop about halfway through our trip, and the Oldest Princess picked out Corn Nuts as her snack. My Prince does not like Corn Nuts, and makes no bones about it.  He fussed about the smell of them for pretty much the rest of the trip.  The Youngest Princess tried them for the first time, and decided she was on her daddy's side.

We made it to the beach about midnight.  We loaded the cart (it looked like we were staying for a month) and headed up to the condo.  After we unpacked everything, the kids were begging us to just go down to the beach and see the water for just a few minutes.  So we decided that we would.  The way this particular condo is set up, you come out the door, and have to go down the steps (or elevator), to the ground.  It is parallel to the beach, so you walk beside it, or under it down to the end near the beach.  There is a gate you have to go through to get into the picnic/restroom/pool area that is under the end nearest to the beach.  We got as far as the gate with no problems.  But as we were nearing the gate, there was a man standing there.  I could hear water hitting the concrete floor.  My first thought was that he was pouring out a water bottle or something.  But when my brain registered what was actually happening (he was using the restroom - right out there in front of the whole world), with my whole family walking up to him face to face, I was pretty much in shock.  I just grabbed the top of the Youngest Princess's head and turned her to redirect her away from the man.  The rest of the family followed suit.  We walked a few steps in the other direction while the man finished his very private business in a very public way about 5 to 10 feet away from a restroom.  Then we heard him going up the steps, so we turned to go back and go through the gate and continue on to the beach, when the man said, "Hey!  I'd watch my step if I were you!  Someone just peed all over the floor over there!"  Um, ya think?!?  We definitely watched our step, and and we talked about how when you drink alcohol, it becomes what controls you.  You are no longer in control.  The alcohol is, and when that is the case, you do things that you most likely would never do if you were not being controlled by alcohol.  Like what we had just seen.  I never want to be controlled by anything, but the Holy Spirit.  We also talked about what my parents used to say, "Nothing good ever happens after ten o'clock."  We have heard it said different ways..."after dark", "after midnight", whatever, but the principle still applies.  At night, it is best to be inside, in your home, with your family.  After that, the Oldest Princess made sure we were inside by ten o'clock each night, except for the last night, and she stayed in while we went out crab hunting.  She did not want a repeat happening of the first night. And I don't blame her.

Anyway, we did walk on down to the beach, and we saw tons of crabs.  As we were walking back up to the condo, the Oldest Princess saw a really big crab.  She yelled for us to look at it  and went running to keep her light on it so that we could see it.  At one point, it changed directions and headed back toward her.  She yelped and did the best dance I've ever seen her do trying to get away from it. Oh, how I wish I had been videoing at that point in time.  I would have given anything to have it on video!  After that, we went back up to the condo and climbed wearily in bed.

Monday, July 25 -

I love to get up and get out on the beach early.  In the past, I have done it alone, and My Prince and the kids sleep in and come later.  This time, the two oldest children asked me to wake them up so that they could go with me.  I told them I would.  I set my alarm so that I could be on the beach to watch the sunrise, and when it went off I got up and got ready.  I woke both of the older kids up, but only one was still up to going with me.  The Oldest Princess opted for a little more sleep.

So the Young Prince and I went out and walked and watched the sunrise.  We saw one of those big crane type birds watching some people fish.  I think he was hoping for some breakfast.  The Young Prince took his camera and got some pretty good pictures.  I took my phone, and got some okay pictures.

Here is a picture of the sunrise.  I just love how there are very few people on the beach at this time, and it is so quiet and peaceful.  I love going down and walking, and then just sitting and thinking about how big God is, and praising Him for making such a beautiful place.  It breathes life and peace back into my soul to be on the beach in the morning.  It is definitely my happy place.  And it was neat to have the Young Prince join me for the first time.

We stayed for about an hour, and then we went back in to put away his camera, and to get chairs and my book.

Aaahhh.  Just looking at the pictures again makes me feel relaxed!  I could definitely live at the beach!

The Young Prince enjoying some early morning waves.

Eventually, everyone else came out and joined us.  The Youngest Princess and I played in the waves for a few minutes, and when I was done, she talked her big sister into going out there with her.

It showered on us off and on pretty much the whole time we were out there.  It's not too bad, because the rain cools you off.  But My Prince did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did.  He had grabbed a towel and was holding it over his head, and the Oldest Princess got my attention and wanted me to take a picture of him.  So, of course, I did...

All was peaceful for a while.  Until they came out.  You know.  That family.  The one that thinks they are the only ones on the beach.  They had a son named Adam.  I know this, because they parked themselves in front of us, and screamed at him for every move he made.  He might have been 2 or 3. His sister was trying to build a sandcastle.  She would build, he would knock it down.  She would wail, "MOOOOOOOMMMM!!!"  Mom would scream at the top of her lungs, "NO!  ADAM!  THAT IS NOT NICE!  THAT'S A BAD BOY, ADAM!!!" Then she would turn and talk to grandma, while the sister would build again.  Adam would go over and knock it down again.  Sister would wail again.  And mom would scream again. And then the whole thing continued over and over. You get the picture.  I wanted to step up and give her a couple of friendly parenting tips.  Things that would make her day (as well as everyone around her) go a little bit better. But I refrained.  It took just about all that I had in me. Then grandma got out a cigarette.  And the wind was blowing right at us.  I figured that we would inhale more of it than she would.  But thankfully (and probably with some help from prayers said by the oldest princess and me) her lighter would not work and she had to go back to the tent that they had set up behind us to smoke. 

It was getting to be close to noon, and we decided that we would go in, get cleaned up and go to lunch, and then come back out later in the evening.  That way we would miss the heat of the day - and the rest of the Adam's family show.  

So we went in and all got cleaned up and decided to go to a place that we had been in the past.  It was monumental to make a decision.  To get a family of five to totally agree on anything is quite a feat. Well, we finally decided on a place and walked in.  There was an elderly lady who was getting our menus and going to seat us.  I saw another employee walk over and lean in and say, "Did they ask for them?  Then, no!  Don't give them one unless they ASK for one!"  I figured she was talking about a kid's menu, because the Youngest Princess is right on the edge of not being able to order from the kid's menu any more.  Still.  The whole situation did not sit well with me.  I felt like they were trying to take advantage of us before we were even seated.

But then, the elderly lady sat us, and told us that she would bring us a kid's menu.  So that was not it. As I looked at my menu, I realized that it was a dinner menu, not a lunch menu.  So that had to be it. We came at lunch, and they gave us dinner menus, so I told My Prince what I had heard them say, and he asked for lunch menus.  They brought them to us.  We ordered and ate, but it will be the last time that we go there.  If you want to know where it was, just ask me, and I'll be glad to tell you.  I do not agree with people who try to take advantage of others.  It shows a lack of character, and I don't/won't support it.

After lunch, we went to a couple of little stores.  My Prince bought a little football for them to throw around on the beach.   We bought a bucket so we could take the youngest Princess crab hunting that night.  We have a family tradition that when we go to the beach, the girls and I get anklets.  We could not find ones we liked, so we gave up on that for the day, and went back to the condo.  

When we got there, I was very sleepy.  I had only had about 4 hours worth of sleep the night before thanks to getting in late, and then getting up early.  Maybe that is why Adam's family got on my nerves so much?  So, we all took about an hour's nap.

Then we got up and went back out to the beach for a few hours.  It was much less crowded.  A lot of people had gone in to get ready to go out to dinner by this point.

The family tossing a football, while I sat in my chair and relaxed and read.

It continued to rain on us off and on.  And God sent a beautiful rainbow for us to enjoy.

The kids played in the water, and dug in the sand.  The Youngest Princess did not like to go to the water and get her feet wet, and then come up to the soft sand and have it stick to her wet feet.  So she filled the bucket with water and came up to wash her feet.  Her sweet daddy got a towel and helped her dry her feet, so the sand would not stick to them.  He's such a good man!

The Youngest Princess and I took a beach selfie.

I took a cute picture of the Oldest Princess.

We all got hungry and decided to go in.  We sent My Prince out for pizza, and ate pizza in the condo for dinner.  We watched American Ninja Warrior (my first time to see it), and waited for it to get dark so that we could go out crab hunting.  The Oldest Princess opted to stay in instead of going crab hunting with us.  So the rest of us went out in search of the giant crab that the Oldest Princess had found the night before.  When we got to the beach, there were a ton of people crab hunting.  I figured there would not be any crabs left for us to find with all of those people already hunting.  But, we did pretty good any way.  We did not however find the giant crab that we were looking for.  But here is a picture of our night's catch.  Don't worry, we released them all.  None of them came home with us.

After releasing the crabs, we went in and went to bed.  Sunrise comes early the next morning.  This time, the Youngest Princess said that she wanted to go with me.  I was doubtful that she would get up, but I told her I would wake her up and see if she still wanted to go with me.

Until I blog again...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

July 20 - July 23, 2016

Wednesday, July 20 - We got up and hung out around the cabin for a while.  I saw on facebook that one of my nephews from Texas was going to be in Gatlinburg with his girlfriend and her family.  I text him, and we decided on a time that would be best to meet up, if it worked out.

Then we went out and did a little shopping.  The Oldest Princess bought a couple of shirts for college.  The Young Prince, Z-Bone and T-Bone all bought caps.  Special K bought a new outfit.

We left the shopping center and went to drive through Cades Cove.  Several locals had told us that the best time to see bears was at sunset.  We got there a little early.  We drove through and saw some turkey and several deer.  There was one bear, but only the Young Prince and Z-Bone got to see it.  We stopped and let the kids play in a little creek.  We decided that we wanted to drive through one more time since it was a little later, so hopefully the girls and T-Bone could see a bear too.  There was quite a bit more traffic the second time through, and when people would see bears, they would just stop in the middle of the road, and cause traffic to back up.  So it was slow going the second time, but we were able to see some bears.  And by the time we finished the second loop, we had kids sitting on the top of the van, kids hanging out the windows and kids hanging out the sunroof.  I think we may have been in the car a little too long!  At one point, Special K and I got out to take a selfie with the mountains in the background, and the little rotten children that we have locked the car and made us dance to be able to get back in.  The Oldest Princess wanted to stop and point at nothing and see how many people we could trick into trying to see what we were looking at.  Z-Bone got several good pictures.  Special K and Z-Bone were able to play with them on one of their photo editing programs when we got back to the cabin, and several of them turned out really nice.

When we left Cades Cove, we took the very twisty route back to Gatlinburg.  I text my nephew, and he and his girlfriend came and met us.  We were meeting her for the first time.  We had heard good things about her, and we were glad to finally be able to meet her.  And of course we were very glad to see J.  We visited with them for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Not nearly long enough, but it was good to be able to see them, even for a short time.

We got back to our cabin and the kids spent some time in the hot tub before we went to bed.

Thursday, July 21 - We slept in a little and took our time getting ready.  When we all got ready, we left and did a little shopping.  I got the Youngest Princess several tops and a pair of shorts.  Miss B and the Youngest Princess stood in the window and acted like mannequins.  Then the three boys did the same.  The boys were really good at it.  I told them they were the best looking mannequins I had seen in a long time.

We found a park and the little girls played on the playground while the rest of us played Dutch Blitz on the picnic table.  We had to move it into the shade.  The search for the perfect Dutch Blitz table is still on.  Oh, and the benches were h-o-t!  We had to stand for the first few rounds while the benches cooled off in the shade.  The girls didn't play long before they came over to play cards with us, because it was too hot on the playground as well.  We played for a while, and then we drove to a local drive up restaurant and ordered something to eat.  It was a comedy of errors, and by this point, we were all very tired of being in the car like sardines.  They brought us the wrong hamburger, and they forgot one of our drinks.  They brought the right hamburger, but forgot the drink.  They finally brought the drink.  We asked for ketchup.  We were pretty much finished with our food when they finally brought the ketchup.  The toy in the kid's meal was a shark.  You pushed a button, and the shark's head flew off.  Just what we needed in a car full of kids packed in like sardines who have been in the car way too much the past few days.  I confiscated said shark toys.  To save the lives of all the children.  Special K bought slushies for all who wanted one.  Only the little girls were takers.

After their slushies were delivered, we got on the road.  Special K was driving us to meet up with My Prince who was coming to pick us up and take us home.  We made better time than My Prince and we got to the rendezvous point before he did.  So of course, we did a little shopping.  We all found something except for the Youngest Princess.  Well, she found this little yappy battery powered dog, but I told her no.  My Prince finally got there, and we were very glad to see him again.  We switched our luggage over to our car, and said our goodbyes to our very special friends.  It was wonderful to be able to spend some time with them.  We love them dearly and cherish the time that we get to spend together.

We drove on down the road, and stopped for dinner.  After we ate, we got back in the car, and headed for home.  We went through several pretty heavy rainstorms.  I know My Prince was glad to be home when we finally drove into the driveway.  It was barely raining, but there was a lot of lightening, so we emptied the car as fast as we could.  We pretty much went straight to bed.  Well, except for the Oldest Princess who had to repack, because she was leaving again the next morning.

Friday, July 22 - My Prince got up and went to work out.  Then he came back and got the Oldest Princess and took her to get several shots she needed to have her record up to date, so that we could send it to the college and have everything done as far as her enrollment goes.

The Oldest Princess came home, and My Prince went to a coaching network meeting.  The Oldest Princess and I watched a couple of shows together, and then I started getting ready.  She finished packing for the Senior trip with our Youth Pastor and his wife to the beach.  When I got ready, My Prince came home.  He brought the mail in with him, and in the mail was a scholarship for the Oldest Princess.  Praise the Lord!  We were very thankful to get that.

We took her to the church to meet up with the others going on the trip.  Then the Young Prince, the Youngest Princess, My Prince and I all went to a local restaurant for lunch.  They had a television on, and we watched the news about the shooting in Munich, Germany.  It is heartbreaking to me.  I do not understand the mindset of someone who would take weapons and kill totally innocent people.  What exactly do they think that they are accomplishing?  It makes absolutely no sense in the world to me.  My heart breaks for the families of the victims.  They are in my prayers.  So senseless and so sad.

My Prince brought us home.  The Young Prince and the Youngest Princess went upstairs to hang out, and I took a nap on the couch.

My Prince came home and we ate dinner.  I saw on Facebook that a local railroad museum was having a wild west day the next day.  You could buy tickets and take a train ride, and bandits would stop the train and try to rob you.  The Youngest Princess has been wanting to take a train ride for a long time, because that is how Mandie (in our books we read) traveled.  I told My Prince, and he agreed that it would be a fun thing for us to do.  We called Grammy and Poppy to see if they wanted to go with us.  They said that they would.  So we got online and bought our tickets.

The Young Prince wanted to watch a super hero movie with My Prince, so the Youngest Princess and I went upstairs to read Mandie.  It has been way too long since we have read Mandie together.  We finished the book we were on.  Mandie graduated from high school at the end of the book.  I think there may be a few more special books, (there is still a Christmas one on the Kindle edition I bought) but otherwise, I think we have finished the Mandie series.  I guess we will have to find a new series to read together.

The Youngest Princess fell asleep with me while the boys finished their movie.

Saturday, July 23 - We woke up early, so that we could get ready and go for our Wild West train ride.  Grammy and Poppy met us here and we rode to the Railroad Museum together.  We let the Youngest Princess pick the train car that we would ride in.  There was a completely open air car (not much like a real train ride), there was an air conditioned passenger car (but the windows were up, and you would not hear the bandits very well, and then there was the un-air conditioned passenger car (hot, but with windows up, so you could feel the breeze and hear the bandits).  The Youngest Princess picked the un-air conditioned car.  We had a good time, and despite the heat, enjoyed the little show. It was fun, and the Youngest Princess got to pretend that she was Mandie and that she was taking a trip with her grandmother on a train.  So she was happy.

After the train ride was over, we went to eat lunch.  Then the Young Prince asked if we could go to Walmart to pick up some more plants to put in the large pot by our door.  We have two little ones, and he thought that they needed company.  He, Grammy and I picked out a few plants, and he found a cactus for his room.  My Prince and the Youngest Princess went to get a cucumber and some other things we needed.  The Youngest Princess wanted a cucumber, because we had seen a video of cats that were afraid of cucumbers and she wanted to see if it would scare our cats.

We got home, and she put the cucumber down by the cats.  They just sniffed it and walked away.  It was too funny.  The Young Prince replanted his plants in the planter by the door, and took his cactus to his room.  Grammy and Poppy headed off to do whatever they had planned for the rest of the day. My Prince went to take a nap, and I worked on some laundry and started catching up on my blog.

The Oldest Princess text to say that they were having a good time.  The Youngest Princess wanted to go outside for a while, so we did.  The Young Prince went for a run - working on getting ready for all the running he is going to have to do in football practice.

We are going to grill hamburgers in a little while, and I am going to try to work on my Bible study and get some more things done around here before it is time to go to bed.

Until I blog again...

July 16 - July 19, 2016

Saturday, July 18 - So much has happened since then.  I really don't remember anything about Saturday.  I guess it was just a regular day at home.  If something monumental happened, please forgive me.  I honestly don't remember much other than that I am sure I did laundry and that we packed so that we could leave Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, July 17 - It was a good morning, as much as I can remember.  We finished getting the last minute things packed, and loaded everything into the car.

Sunday school was good. Then when I went upstairs for the service, I was surprised to see one of our former students, and the young lady that he is dating.  We always love seeing J, and I was very excited to meet E.  We have heard a lot about her, and she was just as lovely as we knew she would be.  I enjoyed talking to them for the few minutes before the service started.  The service was good. The choir sang "Beulah Land".  My Grandmother's name was Beulah, and she always asked Marc to sing it for her when we were there. He sang it at her funeral.  So, while they were singing it, I had to think about anything and everything but what they were singing, so that I would not get emotional.  It was beautiful, it is just a very emotional song for me.  The rest of the service went well.  We had a new family join.  We have been friends with them for years, and now we are very excited to have them as a part of our church family.

After church, we decided where to go for lunch.  We invited J and E to go with us, because we really hadn't got to talk to E that much. We all really liked E.  She is very sweet.  We ate and visited quickly so that we could get on the road.

Grammy was awesome to volunteer to drive us halfway to meet up with Special K and her mom who had come halfway from their home to pick us up.  We had a great trip down, and headed back home with them.  When we got there, we got to see B and Uncle D, and had a few minutes to freshen before it was time to go to church.  Their teens had just come home from camp, and so they sang a few songs and then some of them gave testimonies of what God had done in their lives during the week.  The first testimony was by War-bug.  He is Special K and Uncle D's middle son.  We have been praying for him for a while now.  His testimony was that he had gotten saved that week during camp.  It was on Wednesday.  I know because Special K had texted me to let me know the news.  I had rejoiced with her from far away, and now, I was getting to rejoice with her in person.  What a blessing, and a huge answer to prayer!  His testimony brought tears to my eyes, and to many other's eyes I am sure.  The rest of the testimonies were touching as well.  The other young man that got saved was the son of another couple that we are friends with.  It was definitely a night of praise. Then the young man who is the youth pastor now, was a young man who was in our youth group at one time.  He preached and did a great job.  It was fun to see old friends.  After church they had a fellowship for a family that was moving away.

We got back to the house and we played cards for a little while.  Special K packed while we played. She searched the house over for an elusive blue and white striped shirt. Most of us were too tired to do much good playing cards, so we all decided it was time to go to bed.

Monday, July 18 - We got up and got ready to go.  Special K found her shirt.  It was in the washing machine.  Somehow we got everything packed into the van, including all of the kids - except for War-bug who had to stay home to work - and we started our journey to the mountains.  We had a pretty uneventful trip, which is always good in my book.  I learned about Pokemon Go! from T-Bone. Then the Young Prince and Z-Bone downloaded the apps and joined the madness.  I know way more than I ever wanted to about it (poke stops, and gyms not gems, and battles, and weetles?), and I still do not understand it all.  We made it to our cabin, and unloaded everything.

Special K, the Oldest Princess and I then went to the grocery store to buy our food for the week.  We were trying to hurry to get back to the boys and our little girls, so we made a few mistakes.  I bought low sodium olives - yuck!  They were like eating flavorless eyeballs.  It was bad.  And I was sad, because I was really hungry for olives.

Anyway, while we were checking out, the man running our register asked me if I had a rewards card. I told him that I did not, because we do not have those kinds of grocery stores where we live, although I wish we did.  He asked me where we were from.  I told him a geographical location in our state.  He said, "Oh, as in the  _______ and ________ area?"  And named the town we live in, and the next little town over.  What?!?  Crazy!!!  I told him, "Yes! Exactly!", and he said that his ex-wife was from that area.  Too funny.  It really is a small world!  We loaded the groceries and headed back to the cabin.  And Special K, the Oldest Princess and I still can't for the life of us figure out why they would sell us a box of Hostess cupcakes that were opened and had exactly three cupcakes missing.

We got back to the cabin and feasted on some gourmet frozen pizza and pizza rolls.  The kids wanted to get into the hot tub, so they did that while Special K and I used our big muscles (not) to move the huge, solid, heavy coffee table out of the way in order to make T-Bone's bed.  My back will never be the same!  And about the time we set it down, it glided smoothly across the floor.  On. its. wheels. Yes, my friends.  It. had. wheels.  Special K hit the floor laughing so hard.  The kids thought that we had locked them out because we were both laughing like maniacs.  It really was funny.  And not funny.  All at the same time.

The kids came in and we decided to play some Dutch Blitz.  The owners of the cabin had just redecorated, so the really cool hexagonal table that we just knew from the pictures would be the perfect place to play Dutch Blitz was no longer there.  In it's place was a beautiful rectangle table. We were disappointed.  But we decided to make the best of it and play anyway.  But the lighting was terrible.  So we rearranged a little, and moved the table to the middle of the kitchen.  We all did pretty well.  But we were all pretty tired, so silliness got the best of us.  We ended up playing chipmunk versions of songs, and doing sing-a-long videos to Disney songs, and laughing at one another.  Z-Bone had a great Elsa voice!  We also told him that we could just see him driving down the road in his 'stang singing "This Girl is on Fire" chipmunk style.

At one point earlier in the evening, the kids were trying to figure out the purpose of a knob on the wall in the girls room.  Special K had them convinced for a minute that it worked a two way mirror that hung in the hallway.

Finally we all decided it was time to quit and get some rest.

Tuesday, July 19 - We got up and got ready and Special K called to make sure that the water level was high enough for us to go tubing.  It was, so we packed snacks and lunches and loaded up in the car.  On the way the Young Prince taught the girls about the "Cotton-tailed Rattle-moskin."  He told them that they only eat little girls that can't keep their mouths shut.  Reminds me of something my brother would do and say.

When we got there, we rented our tubes and a floating ice chest.  Then we went to the car and put everything in the ice chest, and waited while Z-Bone got his fishing stuff ready.  He was going to fly fish while we floated, and I would tell you what he was doing, but I have no idea what all that stuff is called, and if I tried, I would get it all wrong.  Anyway, finally with mine, and Special K's help, he accomplished what he was trying to accomplish (putting a worm on the hook seems to be a whole lot easier), and we were ready to tube.

A quick speech on what we could and could not do, and a group photo, and we were in the water. The Youngest Princess immediately got separated from our group, and because she had never been tubing before, she really did not know what to expect.  So she panicked.  Another large group got in behind us, and they were probably in their late teen, early twenties.  Their vocabulary consisted mainly of four letter words.  My sweet baby got caught up in the middle of them all, and heard more filth in that 5 minute time span than she has probably heard in her 10 years of life.  They finally realized that she was with us, and passed her up through them to where T-Bone could grab ahold of her.  We all managed to link up, and Z-Bone got out of his float and held us in one place long enough for that group to pass us by and get on down the river before we started floating again.  I tied the Youngest Princesses float to mine so that she would not get separated from me again.

We floated and relaxed while taking pictures and talking.  The Young Prince and Z-Bone did some fishing.  They caught several little ones, mostly small mouth bass.  We found a spot on the side and got out and ate our lunch.  Then we floated on.  I saw a turtle on a log.  Z-Bone tried to catch it, but it got away.  Further down, I almost flipped over on a small rapid, because I was tied to the Youngest Princess and the Oldest Princess was holding on to me, and we weren't going over together.  The Oldest Princess let go, and we all managed to get over it without flipping over, but for a minute there, I thought I was a goner.  Another time Miss B and the Youngest Princess were out of their floats, and we came up on a small rapid.  They got back in those floats as fast as they could.  Special K and I got stuck once, and had to separate to get past a big rock.  Z-Bone saw a snake on the bank.  He stopped to watch it.  He looked back to tell us it was there, and then when he turned back around, it was gone. I was completely on top of my float.  None of me was in the water at all at that point.  T-Bone had on flip flops and kept losing them.  At one point, I was telling my children that I loved them.  T-Bone was there, and I included him too, "T-Bone, I love you too!"  He said it was good to hear that, because his mother never told him that she loved him.  He said that of course for her benefit, but she was busy talking to the boys and missed the whole conversation.  I told him that as long as I was there, he would know he was loved.  It was our running joke from that time on for me to tell him that I loved him.

We got to the point where it was time for us to get out.  The little vans were there to pick us up.  We loaded in, and they slammed the back doors and almost scared Special K out of her skin.  As we got on our way, Special K tapped the Young Prince on the shoulder to tell him something.  But she thought that she was tapping Z-Bone on the shoulder.  She is his momma, and she still mixes them up (they really do resemble a lot - especially from the back) (so don't feel bad about graduation K, even their mommas mix them up sometimes).  Anyway, the Young Prince turned, and Special K said, "Oh, wrong Z-Bone!"

We went back to our cabin and got our showers, and made some sandwiches.  Then we drove to Gatlinburg to look around.  When we drove into the parking lot, Special K got out to pay, but a lady stopped her and gave us her ticket, because she was leaving and it was still good until 4:30 the next morning.  We parked and decided to eat first.  So we broke out our sandwiches and had a picnic in the car.  Then we got out and walked around a little.  The Oldest Princess bought a shirt.  I bought the Youngest Princess a bracelet.  But other than that, we just walked.  There were people singing, or doing arts and crafts on the sidewalk as we walked by.  One lady was making church-house dolls. We stopped and she taught Miss B and the Youngest Princess how to make one, and they got to keep the ones they made.

We went back to the cabin, moved the table back into the kitchen snacked and played some more Dutch Blitz.  I think Z-Bone was on his 6th or 7th cup of dry cereal by this point.  Special K had taken to calling him Cereal Boy.  It was a good thing that we bought the family sized box of frosted flakes!  We didn't play long before we all decided it was time to call it a day and get some rest.

And because this is getting long, I too, will call it a day, and stop for now.

Until I blog again...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

July 11 - July 15, 2016

Monday, July 11 - The plans were for the girls to go shopping.  But because of the washing machine debacle, we decided that My Prince and I needed to go shopping for a washing machine instead. Which was fine with me.  I was excited to be able to get a washing machine that I did not have to baby along.

The Youngest Princess was still at her friend's house.  The Oldest Princess went to work and then later in the day met up with Grammy, and they went shopping as planned.  My Prince went to work. I worked on my Bible study and did some things around the house.  The Young Prince slept in.

At noon, My Prince and I left to go looking for washing machines.  The Young Prince and Poppy went shopping, and then fishing.

My Prince and I ate lunch and then went to a home improvement store.  There were rows and rows of washers and dryers.  I told the salesman that I wanted a dependable TOP LOAD washer for a family of 5.  I didn't want one that cooked dinner too.  I just needed something that would wash the clothes of a very active 5 person family.  He guided us a little, and we settled on a very normal washing machine.  He told us they could deliver it on Wednesday, but we were going to be out of town on Wednesday, so we settled on Friday instead.  We even lined up for them to remove the old one - hallelujah!

We ran to Walmart and did a little shopping there, and then we came home.  The Oldest Princess and Grammy came in shortly after we did.  The Oldest Princess wanted to have fried chicken strips, fried okra, peas, and rolls for dinner.  So we got busy getting that started.

Grammy ran to Walmart to return something, My Prince left to go pick up the Youngest Princess, and The Oldest Princess and I made memories in the kitchen.

My friend stopped by to return a bowl that I had let her borrow.  We talked for a little while until the Oldest Princess cried SOS from the kitchen.  My friend left, and I got back to helping with dinner. My Prince and the Youngest Princess returned.  The Youngest Princess had backed into a rosebush while at her friend's house, and her little legs were covered in scrapes and scratches.  Grammy got home from her Walmart trip and Poppy and the Young Prince returned from their fishing trip.

We finally got dinner ready and on the table.  It was delicious if I must say so myself.  We all enjoyed it, and I am glad because it will probably be a long time before we do it again.

Tuesday, July 12 - The Oldest Princess was going to babysit for a friend who has a pool, so the Youngest Princess, the Young Prince and I went over to meet her there and swim for a little while.

We swam for about an hour, and then I came home.  The Young Prince and the Youngest Princess stayed to come home when the Oldest Princess came home.  I got my shower and was resting for a few minutes when the kids got home.

The Oldest Princess found out that it was Chick-fil-a's cow appreciation day or something like that, and she begged for us to go.  If you dress up like a cow, then you get your entree free.  We tossed around going, or not going for quite a while.  The Youngest Princess was already in her pajamas (after her shower) and she made it clear that she did not want to go anywhere.  She was still tired from Sunday night's sleepover.  But we finally decided to go.  The Oldest Princess even talked the Youngest Princess into dressing up like a cow with her.  Only the girls dressed up though.  The rest of us paid full price for our meal.

When we got there, it was crazy crowded.  But thankfully, it was Chick-fil-a, so we did not have a long wait.  Probably the longest we have ever had to wait there, but still it was a short wait compared to other places.  I love Chick-fil-a's service!  We ate and tried not to be too distracted by the other customers dressed like cows.

We went to Walmart to pick up a few things after we ate.  We divided and conquered in Walmart. Then the Young Prince wanted to go to Books a Million and see if they had the second book in the series that he had started.  They did.  He got it, and I got a Karen Kingsbury book that I haven't read yet.  The Youngest Pirncess got a yogurt, and we were all ready to go home.

Wednesday, July 13 - My Prince and I were leaving to go on an overnight trip to meet with a church planter in another city.  The Young Prince was riding along because we had some friends that we had met while doing different mission work last summer who lived in the area and wanted to see him. The girls stayed home.  The Oldest Princess went to pick up the little girl that she babysits, and then came back to see us off.  We got ready and headed out.

We met with the others who were going, and hit the road.  We enjoyed the fellowship during the trip. We stopped and ate lunch and then continued on our trip.  It was a nice, uneventful trip.  We finally got to the exit where we were to meet our friends.  They were waiting for us.  We talked to them for a few minutes, had a time of prayer together, then sent the Young Prince off with them, and continued on our way.

We got to the place where we were staying, unpacked, and freshened up a little, and then met back at the bus to take in some sights and sounds of the city and get some dinner.  We drove downtown.  The closer we got to downtown, the more it looked like we were in a third world country.  I commented about how much it reminded me of the Dominican Republic.  If the traffic had been crazy, and the signs in Spanish, I could have convinced myself that I was back in the DR.

We walked around and looked in a few shops.  One of us got an unexpected shoe shine.  The spiritual oppression was palpable.  It was very sad to me.  The masses of people who live in hopelessness. Many of them in extreme poverty.  And salvation is free.  They just have to be ready to accept it.  Yet so many of them chose instead to turn it down, and try other things to make them happy, and the things they try just enslave them even more.  Very, very sad.

We ate dinner, and it was delicious.  Then we walked around some more to walk off a little of our dinner and make room for some dessert.  The dessert was delicious as well.  After that, we were all ready to head back to the bus and to where we were staying.  I got a text from our friends saying that they were going to have dessert and then they would bring the Young Prince back to us.  They had the same dessert that we did, only from a different place.  I was glad that the Young Prince was able to try one.

We got back to the place where we were staying, and relaxed for a little while until our friends got back with the Young Prince.  We sat in the lobby and visited with them for about an hour and a half, until we were all so tired we could hardly hold our eyes open.  Our friends still had a little bit of a drive to get home.  So we prayed together again, and then they had to leave.  We really enjoyed our time with them, and we hope that things work out so that we are able to get together with them again in the near future.  It was very sweet of them to drive out of their way not once, but twice for the Young Prince.  We haven't known them that long, but there is a special bond in Christ there that makes it feel like we have known them forever.

Thursday, July 14 - We got up and got ready to meet the rest of our group.  We stopped at McDonald's and had a quick breakfast, and then went on to meet with the church planter and his family.  We sat in their living room and they shared their hearts and their ministry goals with us.  It was exciting to hear how God has worked so far and the ways that He has opened doors for them, and the lives that they have seen changed for the Lord.  It was also interesting to hear what their needs are, and how we might be able to partner with them and help to see those needs met.

They took us to show us where they have been meeting, and some of the areas where they had been ministering.  One of the areas was an open area/playground in an apartment complex where they have held Backyard Bible clubs with the children who live there.  There was a streetlight on the edge of that area.  On the streetlight was a pole that extended higher than the streetlight.  The church planter explained that on that pole was a sensor - a light of some kind - that was a signal to the complex that there was an active shooter event.  If the light was on, they were to get to safety as soon as possible. And then we turned the corner, and there were groups of kids walking down the sidewalk.  All looked to be elementary school aged, with no adult in sight.  The church planter told us that we could not stop, because if we did, the kids would see the church bus and swarm out to see what kind of event we had come to hold for them.  I wanted to stop, load the bus and bring them all home with us.

 We drove on, and went to lunch.  Hearing more about the city and the church planter's heart for the people there.  Lunch was very interesting.  They had things on the menu that I had never heard of in my life.  And certainly did not know what they were.  I stuck with something familiar.  Catfish.  With Turtle cheesecake for dessert.  It was delicious.

Then it was time to say our goodbyes and head home.  The trip home was a little longer than we had expected because of traffic from several wrecks.  But we made it home safely, and had a great time.

We got home and were very glad to see the girls.  I had texted the Oldest Princess earlier and asked her to straighten up the laundry room area because they were supposed to bring the new washing machine the next day, and I had no idea what time they would get there.  She said she would, and boy did she ever.  It looked fantastic when we got home, and not only that, but she had straightened up and cleaned most of the downstairs.  I was very proud of her.  It looked great!

We visited with the girls and told them some of our stories.  They told us some of theirs, and then we all called it a night.

Friday, July 15 - I got up and got dressed pretty quickly, still not knowing when the washing machine would come.  They called and said they would be here between 10:30 and 12:30.  Then they pulled up about 9:45!  Who ever heard of a delivery service coming earlier than scheduled?!?  But early they were.  My Prince helped them get the old one out and the new one in.  They started it to let the water run through it, and then we were in business!  I was a clothes washing machine.  I got all of the clothes (that had been brought downstairs - there were still clothes upstairs, but they would have to wait for tomorrow) washed and dried and mostly put away.

The young lady that I have been discipling came over for our third session.  She is doing great.  She knew the memory verses better than I did.

The Youngest Princess and I sat out on the porch for a while.  We both read a little.  The Young Prince came home after lunch and fishing with some of his buddies.  The Oldest Princess came home from babysitting, My Prince got home from work.  We all sat on the porch and visited for a few minutes. The Youngest Princess bathed the dog.  The Young Prince gave the dog a hair cut.  It looks like a different dog now!

Grammy and Poppy came over and we grilled hamburgers for dinner.   After dinner, the girls ran to a local store to pick up a few things.  The guys started watching a ballgame.  We got home and finished cleaning up after dinner and decided to play some Dutch Blitz.  The Young Prince dressed up like a "thug" and entertained us (distracted us) while we played.  He even got in on the action, and played a hand or two with us, and that almost never happens.  He even blitzed once!  Grammy blitzed too!  It was a good night all the way around.

Grammy and Poppy headed home, and we all went to bed.  It did not take me long at all to fall asleep. I was very tired.  We have exciting things coming up, and a full schedule for the next few weeks, so who knows when I will have another chance, but -

Until I blog again...