My trip away!

Some of you may know that I took a trip to visit my grandpa and great aunt and uncle in Florida.  It was last minute and perfect.

Last year, I was given a plane ticket by my mother-in-law as a gift for Andy and I (and baby Bexley) to go together on his business trip to Savannah, GA.  Well, Bexley ended up having a terrible double ear infection and was strongly encouraged not to go.

So, I stayed home and took care of her and my other 3 as we sent Andy off on a quick business trip to Savannah.

I took this ticket, almost exactly a year later to visit my beloved family!

 Funny story (or not so funny) my grandpa who I was blessed to see last week, was pronounced dead about a year ago.  He was ill in the hospital after sugrgery and wasn’t given much time.  Then, my dad called me and told me the sad news.  I went to bed mourning the loss of my grandpa.

The next morning, I get another call from my dad who was surprisingly upbeat.  “So, you’re not going to believe this but…grandpa isn’t dead.”

You can just imagine the shock my body went through…

I don’t remember if it was then or earlier that I told my dad about this dream I had of my grandpa a few days before he went in for surgery.  I know, I know…my dreams!  God gives me these amazing and abstract dreams that end up making complete sense!

The dream was of my grandpa, my dad, my uncle and aunt (my dad’s siblings) all at an airport.  Everyone was kind of sad, not really talking.  They were riding the escalator and my grandpa fainted at the top.  They got a stretcher and started taking him away.  The whole time he was begging for them to let him stay.  “I”m not ready yet!”, my grandpa said.

And then I woke up.  I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t even know my grandpa was going into surgery a few days later! Then!  He’s pronounced dead and comes back!  ahhhh!  The drama of it all!  Fun Fact: he was known as “Lazareth” all week in the hospital. 😉

So, last week Andy sent me off to visit my grandpa (at the same time my parents were visiting) while he was in the hospital.!  I was able to talk and pray with him.  He is so sweet :)  I absolutely loved getting to spend quality time with him and my parents.

 He looked healthier than this photo shows but isn’t he so sweet?!
 Dad and Mom after visiting grandpa, out to eat.

A visit to my VERY favorite, Cracker Barrel where my dad and I got a little crazy…

WEeeEee!  Love these rocking chairs!

Annnnd…my dad fell of his rocker 😉 hahaha!  Oh, he was cracking me up!

After staying at a hotel in Ft. Myers Florida with my parents, I said my goodbyes to my grandpa, rented a car and drove 3.5 hours north to stay with my Aunt Sherry and Uncle George in Lady Lakes, FL.

I was driving and loving the freedom of just me, the warm, Florida sun and no schedules or responsibilities to follow through with. I felt invisible!  So much so that I looked at my map, found where 75 was going to get closest to the ocean before veering back East towards central Florida and took that exit making my way to the Gulf of Mexico.

I parked, squealed like a little girl (true story) and practically ran to the ocean!  It was quite chilly but breathtaking.  I picked up a few shells, snapped a few pictures, and let God’s beautiful creation swallow me up.  It was just me an God for a few minutes and it was awesome!

I hopped back in the car and sent the pictures to Facebook and told my parents to check out my latest post.  They were shocked and I kinda loved that.  I started North again.
The freedom of having no responsibilities and just being by myself was so very therapeutic!  It felt so, so good, even for an external processor/extrovert.  I breathed in the fresh air, enjoyed the palm trees flying slowly passing by and sang as loud as my lungs would allow.  

Yes, I took this picture to capture all that I was feeling! 

I walked into my Aunt and Uncle’s house hoping to see some of the same vintage/old fashioned/antique decor that I once loved so much as a little girl in their home back in Ohio.  There it was, a different home  but still cozy and welcoming, just the same.

She is a fantastic quilter and always turned my store-bought dresses into my new vision I had for them back in High School.

  A trinket she gave me!
She found and old pic of my great-grandmother (her mother) who I loved very, very much and have fond memories of from the few years I knew her.  .
My parents re-joined us before they went off on their cruise thanks to my momma’s business with Thirty-One!
Ah, family :) 

I ate good food and didn’t skip a meal!  Either homemade grilled cheese and soup with Tony Paco’s ‘Sweet Hot” pickles and a coke or a sandwich with everything on it that you would normally pay a good $7 for along side it chips, of course!  For dinner we went out or had something homemade.  For a girl who eats whatever is quickest (and usually sweet and unhealthy) or nothing at all due to no time, this was a slice of heaven. 

Isn’t she a beaut?!  Her heart is just as beautiful!

We went to the pool many times, of course to read, chat and soak up the Florida rays. 

How would we get there, you ask?  How would we get anywhere?!  By one of my aunt and uncle’s golf-carts, of course!

 A streetrod! 

It’s the cutest!

This puppy goes almost 40MPH and I made sure to try that out 😉  They have roads and tunnels specifically for these carts.  It was like Cedar Point’s old fashioned cars but SO MUCH BETTER!!!

One day we went on an air-boat tour along a swamp/lake where gators were all around.  Eeek!  When I don’t have kids to worry about, a whole other side comes out!  I snapped pictures as we got only feet away from alligators and even held a baby gator at the end!

 It was loud!
Look how unafraid I am…don’t let this fool you 😉

The Villages, where my Aunt and Uncle live, go all out in making things look really nice and decorate impeccably! 

This was my favorite…

The Plantation!

We ended my time with church on Sunday morning and one last time at the pool.

I loved so much spending time with them and being able to relax.  I was refreshed there but…

I told my aunt that next time I come, I want it to be with my family.  My hubby, and all 4 (healthy) kids.

Andy promised me and the kids that when Zeke gets healed, we are going to celebrate at Disney World!!

So, although it was a very good time, I knew that life without a hubby and kids, schedules, delicate meals to make, lack of sleep, etc.wouldn’t be so great forever.  I wanted to go back home to the chaos because this is the life God has given me and in the midst of it, there’s so much blessing and joy and beauty and well, Jesus.

Ya see, I didn’t feel my need for Jesus so much while I was away.  He was clearly there, with every joyful moment and all the laughter I had with my family.  He blessed me by this time but life was so easy.  And I missed my need for Him.  So, don’t you worry!  I’m back at it and needing him every minute! 😉

And I’m thankful…I’m thankful for a husband who took on the task of 4 kids, one being special needs all to let me have some time away to see loved ones. I’m thankful for friends who served our family by bringing meals to help Andy out while I was away! I’m thankful for my Aunt and Uncle taking me in and making me feel so loved!  That’s agape.

 I will have a Zeke update Friday after his new neurologist appointment.  Please keep praying and thank you so much!


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