Beautiful Day

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Counting Blessings (to Bible Bee and Back) Part 1

Littlest Warrior's first airplane trip

Finding a van to rent that would fit us all (and our luggage)!

Plantation homes in the south.  Made me feel a little bit like I was in Tara.

My dearest husband (and how he indulges my photographic whims with such grace) :)

Playing miniature golf with my children on this fun "Great Locomotive Chase" themed golf course.  If you haven't seen the Disney movie, it's a good depiction of a famous Civil War story.
A glorious early morning hike with my older girls around the base of Stone Mountain.  Gorgeous fall colors were still left here.
The first morning of our trip we woke up to this and thought we were back home!  The tram operator said, "It's like this about 4 or 5 days a year here." did we land on one of those?  This was our only day to enjoy Stone Mountain, so it was quite disappointing weather-wise, but we made the best of it.  We could not see the infamous carving, except for standing right up underneath it and making out the bare outlines of it.  At the end of the day, they closed the park early due to the wet weather, and the possibility of thunderstorms (this was the eve of the big tornadoes in the Midwest).  The thunderstorms never came, thankfully.  When we inquired at the desk, they offered to give us a full refund!  This was a huge blessing-in-disguise.  The next day we had to leave, but we made sure to get outdoors as much as possible, and we were able to afford a second trip up to the top of Stone Mountain so that we could actually see!  And God gave us a glorious 60-mile visibility day (and 70-degree temp)!  The best it gets up there.

Now we could see that carving in all of its splendor!  And the children rejoiced!
Stunning views from on top of the mountain.  I realize this picture looks like we are in a very precarious situation, but rest assured...the camera makes it look this way, but there are platforms of rock below and a chain link fence to prevent anyone from falling down the mountain!
More museums.  This one was highly anticipated for all of the historical relics it holds and because... is the home of  "The General" -- The infamous (real) train that the Union stole from the Confederates for one day.  It's the train of "The Great Locomotive Chase."  We could look across the street from the museum and see the place where the Lacey Hotel was and the diner where William Fuller and his crew were eating breakfast when the train was stolen.

Overlooking Atlanta from Kennesaw Mountain.
The imaginations of a young boy.

Amazing artwork!  This is an original painting by Civil War artist James Walker in 1874.  It is amazingly large and detailed.  This scene depicts the Battle for Chattanooga at Lookout Mountain. 

More mountain-top views.  Yes, we spent a lot of time walking and hiking, but we did not climb these mountains all by ourselves.  Thankfully, there are roads and tram cars for such things.  Still, we tried to imagine how hard it would have been for a soldier.  Truly it is not comprehensible.

This part of Tennessee was quite lovely (and still maintained some fall foliage color).  I found myself standing up here looking out over the valley and the mountains, feeling quite small, but amazed that I could even have such an opportunity.  And that God's people are spread all over this great land.
I am so thankful for such an adventure, for the preservation of so much history, for breathtaking landscapes, and for blessings both seen and unseen.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.

Edward Sandford Martin

Friday, November 15, 2013

In Honor of Veteran's Day

We are blessed to live in a community that honors the military veterans of our country.  Each Veteran's Day (when the weather is tolerable), the children anticipate the celebration highlighted by an outstanding parade.  We might feel a little closer to this subject than many, but we have always felt it is our duty to pass on to our children the heritage of our country.  We live in a generation in which it seems a connection to history and the sacrifices of our forefathers are fast being discarded in favor of present "everythings"-- modern conveniences, lightning-speed communications, entertainment, and the sense that what is today is all that matters, and that those who have gone before us are outdated, old-fashioned, and out-of-touch.  Sad, to say the least.

So we make it our ambition to take our children to events that honor our nation's military, especially on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.  Some of our best memories associated with these events are when we have opportunities to speak with veterans of their experiences.

So, just a few highlights to share:

I thought this one was especially well-done.  It made me want to go and shake each one's hand and say, "Thank you."  But as they are all on a platform, a wave of thanks had to do.

We have a friend who is a World War II re-enactor and historian.  This was his first parade march.  His first book is available now!

The most photographed segment of the parade is probably the Civil War re-enactors, as we have some who are particularly fascinated by studies of the Civil War.
And they still love horses, too!  They are the most anticipated parade exhibition!
Coming from a heritage of fire-fighters, I always like the fire engines, new and old!

We are grateful.  These occasions remind us that we don't enjoy anything in our country because we deserve it or have been handed it on a silver platter.  God has been merciful, and we really have no idea sometimes just how good we have it, even with all of the discouraging political decisions and the loss of freedoms that have taken place.  Real people and real families have suffered enormous sacrifices and even great loss for the blessings of liberty that we enjoy.  Remember to thank a veteran or service member at any time, not just on Veteran's Day.


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