We drove from our home in Alabama to Atlanta, GA. for our flight to Texas. We stayed the night at a hotel near the airport. Check-in was at 8:30 a.m. Upon arriving and trying to check in we learned that our tickets had accidentally been booked for 10:30 p.m and not 10:30 a.m. So there we were, in the Atlanta airport at 8:00 in the morning, fourteen hours early for our flight. Mom called Nana to let her know of our mistake and slight misfortune. Nana put mom in contact with her travel agent, Casey...and Casey, let me tell you, is a miracle worker. She stayed on the phone with Delta for a few hours and managed to switch our times and get us on the 2:00 p.m flight! I cannot express the amount of pure joy felt at the very moment we received word that our flight times had been switched. Our endless hours of boredom had been shortened! The flight over was pleasant. We took up the very back few rows of the plane. Rebekah and Irelyne decided a few weeks ago that they wanted to learn to play the ukulele. They have quickly become very good at it and I am rather impressed by how quickly they have learned and taught themselves to play! The reason I share this is that, they brought their instruments with them on the flight and were actually playing for the duration. At one point the airline stewardess leaned in to ask them if the would like to go up front and play for the rest of the staff! They politely turned the request down as they had just started playing a few days prior!
Our return to the Ranch and time there was beautiful. We made many lasting memories together. The picture below is of Irelyne, my little sister, playing ukulele in the Game Room. So many found memories have been made in this room over the years. In this room time stands still. Four generations, so far, have gathered here for parties and holidays.
We visited Grandmas grave and also her house for the first time without her there. Walking in brought back so many memories of all of the love, joy, and laughter shared there...with her. It also brought back all of the memories, for me, of her precious last week of life here on earth. A week that we were privileged to share with her. To love on her. To care for her. To sing to her. To read scripture over here. To pray over her. To comfort her. It was a beautiful time that I will forever be grateful to have shared with her. Raw emotion and pain are both things that I don't process verbally. I process over time, through silent midnight tears, and...writing/journaling.
New Years was wonderful. The only thing missing...and really the biggest hole felt the entire trip, was my fathers absence. Though I missed Daddy, we had a wonderful time playing games and talking while waiting for the ball to drop in New York! Most of the family was finished and went to bed after this. I stayed up until nearly three in the morning, deep in conversation with my Uncles amazing girlfriend, Sarah! This trip to Texas was my first time to meet her and.... she truly fits in and it almost feels like shes always been one of the family!
Group family dinners are always fun... and I think this place in particular knows us by name! I'm joking of course, but it has become a family favorite Mexican restaurant!
This was the last photograph I took during our trip. It may look very serene, but in fact it was a very early and rather rushed cup of unfinished coffee. The rest of my family was already walking out the door when I stopped to capture this shot before taking my coffee cup to the kitchen sink and rushing out the door to catch up to everyone else. I wanted to remember that morning, that moment. I think this really speaks truth of all of our previous mornings. Calm, peaceful, leisure... I would encourage everyone to seize the moment and to take time to stop and smell the roses, even in the face of chaos or those rushing around you. Live in the moment, for this moment is your life.
Our return home was rather smooth sailing. I would actually venture to say that we made record time!
I do hope that I am making some amount of sense in my writing and also that, in some way, I have been relatable. That truly is my heart. I desire to relate to and feel the emotions of others...to sympathies with them. That's why God gives us a story. To share, to encourage, to edify, and to comfort others. It's not only for us.
Praying that all of you are having a blessed evening!