Month: August 2013

Hitting the ground running

Well I returned to Atlanta the end of July, but since then I’ve spent a grand total of 5 days in the city.  Since I stayed in Albany all summer, I had to squeeze all of my traveling into just a few weeks :).  First stop was Tallulah Falls, for a retreat with my church.  I had been feeling so spiritually dry for such a long time, and God really spoke to me in a way that He hadn’t for a while.  I’m so glad that I went – I almost didn’t.  It was a really powerful weekend.  Exhausting, but totally worth it.

I spent the night before the retreat with Elizabeth.  Check out our culinary skills!

The retreat site was lovely….the cabins, not so much 😉

This was the main auditorium.  It had signs with names, dates, and locations of people who had been to the camp before us – dating all the way back to the early 1930’s.  It was a fascinating glimpse of history…

The next week, my family picked me up on their way to Pigeon Forge, and we all went up there for a weekend vacation.  It was far too short, but wonderful regardless.  We went swimming, explored the town, and played shuffleboard and tennis together.  On Saturday, we split up.  The boys went to a huge knife store – over 2 million knives of all types!! – and mom and Hope and I went to a Christmas extravaganza place.  Oh…my…word.  There were more Christmas things there than I’ve ever seen in my entire life.  Combined.  Thousands and thousands of Santa Clauses.  Every single type of ornament you could ever imagine….and then some.  Tinsel, and glitter, and candy canes, and music boxes.  There were glass balls, Christmas trees, and nutcrackers of every color and variety. I felt like it was a Christmas version of Skittles.  Instead of Skittles: Taste the Rainbow, the slogan of this place should have been The Nutcracker: See the Rainbow.

Both of my brothers tower over me now!

Oh, Josh….ever the comedian

This was the outside of the Christmas place

This tree was just Hope’s style… 

Some of the many types of nutcrackers we saw…

This music box played the most beautiful music!

 I also took my siblings to a place called The Track.  We all did one round of go-carts racing.  After that, my sister and I played a round of mini golf, while the boys did another race.  They had such a blast.  And I had a blast just being with them.  They’re growing up so fast!  And so well…I’m very proud of them :).

The 3 Musketeers at The Track


My last week of freedom before school resumed again, I went to North Carolina to visit my grandparents.  It had been a while since I’d seen them, so I was really grateful to be able to spend a few days of uninterrupted time with them.  I got to hear some fantastic stories from both of their pasts.  Man, kids who don’t take the time to listen to what their grandparents have to say are really missing out on a lot…  My last night there, Pa helped me make crab cakes, and then while they were both gone that afternoon, I made the rest of dinner.  They were so surprised!  I was delighted to be able to do it for them :).

The final product

But now I’m back at Georgia Tech, trying to hit the ground running.  Pray for me!  Of course, if past experience is any indication, I never really stop running, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem ;).

Summers are for memories

Aren’t summers great?  Particularly when you’re a student.  Students’ summers are marked by lazy afternoons by the pool, vacationing over the weekends, and visiting friends and family.  My summers, even though I’m a graduate student, are still much the same.  I realize that this is probably the last summer I’ll have like that, so I’m trying to make the most of it!

Of all the great things about this summer, though, I’d have to say that my favorite part was reconnecting with family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  My summer is almost over now – I moved back to Atlanta to begin settling in for the new semester last weekend – which means that now I’m only left with the nostalgic memories.  Here are a few of my favorites:

My Great-Aunt and Great-Uncle had a big anniversary party / family reunion dealio around the 4th of July.  My dad and brothers couldn’t make it, but my mom and sister and I did.  We drove midway up to Atlanta, visited with Julia a bit, and then went the rest of the way up to Dahlonega, in North Georgia.  Oh my word.  That was so much fun.  It was at an absolutely lovely venue, and it seemed like everyone was there.  I’ve often wished that I could see more of that side of my family….but it’s always a blast whenever I do get to see them!  My my, it’s amazing to see how everyone grows up!  🙂

Bill and Rose Dery….what an incredible couple! 

Hope and Hope – these two cousins were joined at the hip all night long!

The whole clan.  Or at least most of it…I think 😉

My cousins + Daniel’s new fiancé! 🙂

That same week, I also got to see fireworks not once, but twice!  I suppose that somewhat makes up for the fact that this was the first 4th of July I’ve been home for in 3 years.  Other countries don’t find the fourth day in July nearly as important as we do…ergo, no fireworks ;).

My 2 youngest siblings were in a production of the Little Mermaid this summer.  Hope played the most adorable seagull / princess / ocean creature you’ve ever seen….and Matt, our little budding thespian, got the lead male role of Prince Eric!  We were all very proud.  Although i must admit, I was about ready to go postal any time I heard any of the music from the Little Mermaid by the end of the summer.  Too much of anything is never a good thing…. 😉

Hope is third from the left

One proud Grammie!

 I did my best to spend some time in the pool this summer, too.  I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked – work definitely kept me hopping – but I got enough to at least get a few good shots!  And my last weekend in town, a friend of ours took me and my siblings out on his boat.  My goodness, that was fun!  The excitement was just compounded by the imminent danger of the boat breaking down at any minute.  It never actually did, but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t in a constant state of anticipation!  Ahhh, good stuff, it keeps us young, hehehe….

Aside from all of the good memories, it was definitely a challenging summer.  But I’m so grateful for it.  The Lord taught me so much, and grew my relationships with my family tremendously.  I feel energized and ready to take on another year at Georgia Tech….although I must also admit, I’m sooooo glad that this is my last year!! 🙂

(The pictures below are from an impromptu photoshoot I went on in a peanut field with my friend Chad.  I didn’t know where else to put them, so I just stuck them at the bottom :]).