The Time of Our Sojourning in Georgia

 

In Georgia, we learned to appreciate the delicacy that is Chick fil a…even with our peanut allergic kiddo. This was his choice of birthday lunch, even though he can’t eat the nuggets. He loves the fries and supporting a Christian company.

 

When Jacob, as in Jacob one of the patriarchs of Israel, moved to Egypt during the famine, his son Joseph introduced him to Pharaoh. Jacob was already ancient, so Pharaoh asked him how old he was.

Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.”          Genesis 47:9-10

Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh provided his family a place to settle (Goshen), and Jacob went on about his business.

I read in my ESV Study Bible notes that the Hebrew term that was translated as sojourning indicates that they had no permanent home. This is true of his family. Abraham moved from Mesopotamia, through Haran, down to Israel. He moved many times, as did his grandson Jacob, who died in Egypt.

They were sojourners upon the earth. Land was promised to them, but they didn’t always live in it.

riding the cow train at the Rock Ranch

Of course, that made me think of my own situation, as a military wife.

For us, home is not a building of brick or wood. It’s togetherness. No matter where we are, we are home.

Nothing about this life is permanent anyway. I often hear military families who are retiring say that they have found their “forever home,” or they are moving into their forever home.

What they mean is that they are finally settling down and putting roots down to stay, perhaps until they die.

That sounds so horribly permanent, doesn’t it? Digging your hole and staying there until you die?

And yet, sometimes I long for it. I long for the white picket fence and the sold sign in the yard, to meet people and allow myself to believe that I will still know them in 30 years.

But our lifestyle continually reminds me that I am but a sojourner here upon the earth. I have no forever home here, and even if I do one day, a great many years will already have been spent in too many other homes to count.

That’s not a terrible thing. It’s exciting and promising to know that life is an adventure. What a journey. I may be in the South wishing for snow this winter, but next Christmas I may be whining about the freezing cold, dreaming of moving back to my ancestral land of Alabama.

There might be a chance that we could move somewhere we’ve lived before and meet up with friends we love, friends we don’t have to start at square one, “Hi, my name is April,” with but instead can go straight to, “How’s your dad doing now? Let’s have a barbecue this weekend!”

Nana and JD on Grandparent’s Day

 

 

The time of our sojourning in Georgia draws to a close. We have filled out our preference list, submitted recommendations from Alan’s people, and we await new orders.

Endless possibilities await. Will we stay down here? Will we return to our old Virginia stomping grounds? Or will it be somewhere new altogether? Where does the military need us next?

I have no idea, but I trust it to God’s hands. I sneak in looks at rental houses in areas I’d like to go and balk over the prices. Daydreaming will be done in abundance.

I hope once I near the end of this life I will not say that the days of my sojourning were few or evil, as Jacob said. Okay, well, by Jacob’s standards I can tell you my days will be few. He lived to be 147, but so far I can say with relief that the days of my sojourning have certainly not been evil.

The Lord has always been with me, and I know that he always will be, no matter where the journey leads.

 

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

You know it was a happy spring break when it takes you 3 weeks (ish) and 4 separate blog posts to finish writing about it.  This was that sort of year, and if you missed the first few parts, you can catch up here:

Part I– The Shirt War

Part II– The Funny Stuff

Part III– Legoland Discovery Center

 

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

We now live in Georgia, so we decided it was time to re-visit Callaway Gardens. It has been 15 years since we were there before. 15 years ago to the day we re-visited, almost. Alan proposed to me on March 25, 2002, on the lake beach there. We returned on March 26, 2017. Pretty cool, huh?

Us, 2002, Callaway Butterfly Gardens. He proposed on the beach there.

We enjoyed re-enacting it for the boys. Caleb took pictures for you, but I didn’t like how I looked,so those will be on the blog never…

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Daniel, taking off for that beach.

The boys were all supremely disappointed that they didn’t have their swimsuits with them, but it was a touch chilly for swimming still, and we wanted to scope out the whole place that day. We can go back to swim anytime.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Ever since we left California, and my beloved Point Lobos, I have had no place here to go and just revel in the beauty of nature. Actually, my back yard is pretty awesome because I do see red cardinals and an occasional snake (*shudder*), and I find little brown balls that lead me to believe that deer are occasionally jumping our fence, but Callaway goes beyond that.

Here at Callaway, our little family was all at peace and excitement, as we hiked the trails, visited the butterflies, and even got to see a captive falcon with a wingspan as big as me!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Caleb will tell you. Everyone in our family knows it. It is not possible to take Caleb anywhere that there is water of any kind and bring him home dry. He will always be beckoned in so far that he will always leave soggy. We love that about him.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

This was a half-mile trail, but in the southern heat, it feels like more. Thankfully, some of it is shaded. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It felt like home to me.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Me, feeling like I’d found my new Pt. Lobos.

There is something about being outdoors that is nourishing not only to your body but to the depths of your soul.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Friends, come visit us. We will take you on this trail.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

There is something splendid about a boardwalk over water, and yes, there were turtles and fish to gaze at.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I was also reminded why, by the time I was a teenager, I thought I didn’t love being outside. When you grow up in the South, MOSQUITOS reign! Yeah, wear bug repellent if you do anything like what we were doing here. And sweat, of course, sweat. Mosquitos and sweat. Still worth it though.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I don’t think a person can look at a bed of tulips without feeling a little better.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

A small dogwood tree! How I’ve missed dogwoods!!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

outside the butterfly center

Normally, tons of azaleas would have been in bloom, but a week prior a cold front had come through and killed all the azaleas at my house that were blooming or budding, so there were none. I also read that azaleas bloomed early at Callaway this year. That would have been such a beautiful sight to behold, but alas, we missed it. A week later the late azaleas did finally show off in our area, so that was some comfort.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The 4 of us squeezed onto a swing. They have a dozen of these swings outside the butterfly center. Now you know I love me a good swing.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

inside the butterfly center

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The butterflies were of course all over, and we were all excited to be a part of it…..except John David. JD sort of whimpered the whole time and got all sorts of freaked out if a butterfly flew anywhere near him, and so our time in the Butterfly Center was cut short.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

After a butterfly actually landed on my hand for a few minutes, the boys took to trying extra hard to get one to land on them.

But alas, it never happened. Sorry boys.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

JD, in panic mode…Butterflies are apparently terrifying.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

watching an educational film on butterflies

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The boys all took turns carrying each other on their backs, and how sweet are these 2?

Daniel kept picking John David up and carrying him, and JD only weighs 10 pounds less than Dan, so we started referring to Daniel as the ant man.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

My camera phone died before I got to photograph the giant bridge with the water, over by the Discovery Center, which is one of the most beautiful parts. Next time! Because you know there will be a next time!!

 

“A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  Psalm 17:22

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”        Psalm 19:1

And now it’s back to work. I hope you all manage to squeeze in a little sunshine time today.

********Don’t forget to enter the Bottle Flip Game giveaway! It ends Tuesday night at 11:59pm!!**********

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Our Morning at Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Legoland Discovery Centery

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

We all had to see how much we weighed in Lego bricks.

If your kids have never been to Legoland Orlando or Legoland in Southern California, you should totally just tell them this is Legoland and never have to book the larger vacation. They’d probably be totally satisfied.

Of course, we actually did go to Legoland California, and I wrote about that here and here. Our boys are obsessed with all things Lego, especially our younger 3, so these vacations were the perfect fit for us.

This year we saved $$$$ by staying local for Spring Break, and Legoland Discovery Center was the perfect fit. The boys knew going into it that this was not going to be like the theme park. It’s more of a play center, and they saw a commercial for it on one of their Lego movies, so they were all happy.

We are firm believers in managing expectations. Give them low hopes and over deliver. That, my friends, is the key to spring break happiness.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

mini Atlanta, built out of Lego bricks

Legoland Discovery Centers are scattered throughout the country, in many of the bigger cities, and this was our first time to visit one. This particular one is located in a large shopping mall, deep into Atlanta.

By the way, Atlanta traffic was not nearly as aggravating that day. We miraculously managed to keep our car moving forward, not sitting still, the entire time we were on the road.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Every kid in the place was quite impressed with the Lego Braves baseball field.

We booked in advance because that saves you a few dollars on each ticket. When you are a party of 6, a few dollars on each ticket adds up fast.

I also found this deal on Dealspotr. It will give you a free child ticket with purchase of adult ticket, and it expires April 30, 2017.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

There are several Lego-building stations.

When you book in advance, you also choose a time to arrive. We did that because we didn’t want to drive all the way over there and then the place be full and have to wait in line. We waited in no line to get in, and we waited in the shortest lines ever to go on the rides. That makes this non-line-waiting-Momma very happy.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Check out Daniel’s stylish new, overpriced bomber jacket.

Did you know that these bomber style jackets are in this spring? Yes, indeedy, but the only one of us to own one is Daniel because he was so cold the morning of Legoland, and it was his BIRTHDAY, so we went into one of the pricey mall stores and bought him this cute jacket.

It wasn’t cold once we got inside Legoland though, so he didn’t even get to wear it that long. But that’s okay. No one should be miserably air-conditioned cold on their birthday.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

This shuttle has a count-down and then goes up a foot.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

How cute is this tiny Lego NASA control room?

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

not happy JD–We had given him the Lego man kit, but he wasn’t happy until it was built.

As soon as we got in, JD began to ask to build Lego men. JD’s interest in Lego is pretty much limited to just the men at this age. All of our 3-year-olds have been that way.

But JD took the request to the level of whiny, repetitive begging that will put your teeth on edge. All the building stations are for bricks, not tiny men.

After listening to his tale of woe for a solid 10 minutes–I mean it could have been 5, but when you are listening to a toddler in despair 5 minutes feels like 45 minutes—-Alan said, “Well, I wanted to wait to give them their men until we get home so they don’t just lose them.”

“What Lego men? Is that what’s in that yellow bag? Our admission tickets came with Lego men???”

“Yeah, but I mean it’s just like this policeman. I don’t know…”

“Alan, pleeeeeaaaase. I cannot keep listening to him saying ‘where’s the Lego men? I want to build Lego men.’ over and over again. I can’t.”

So we went on our first ride, a really fun one where you shoot the Lego bad guys with a little light that blinks, just like at Disney World, and that kept him completely distracted.

After that was over, we gave him the one Star Wars Lego man in the bag. He doesn’t even care about Star Wars, but he was so happy to receive a Lego man it didn’t matter. He was content the rest of the day. Yay!!!

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

all 4–It’s rare for me to get all 4 in a shot. How cool is the giant Lego Merlin?

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

You can’t go wrong with the giant playground.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Daniel, running through the giant playground. Hmm. I guess he wore that jacket longer than I realized.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

See his little hand clutching the Lego man? Happiness came with our ticket. If you have one of these guys, go ahead and open the yellow bag and give them their Lego man.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Selfie with Mom—or just Mom selfie…no one else seemed to notice. But you know I’m happy when I’m taking selfies. This was a fun morning. Of the 3 rides, 1 was actually a 4D movie, which I enjoy. Some kid activities are torture. This one was not; however, we also don’t have a baby anymore, so I’m less stressed than I used to be at these places!

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

This started out as JD building a tower. Joshua decided to help out his little brother.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Pretty soon the tower got pretty tall.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Everyone joined in.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

They were collecting blocks from everywhere.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

and it just kept getting taller

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

and taller

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Until it was as tall as Dad!

And the little boy who started the tower in the first place (JD) was long gone, up in the pirate tower shooting a cannon over and over again.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

You might say we felt like successful parents for a good solid 2 hours there. 😉

That’s why family outings and vacations are so important. You get out of your house, away from your screens, away from your friends, away from your JOB, and you have no choice but to focus on each other for a little while. You have fun together, which strengthens your bond as a family.

I hope you all get to go on a few good family outings or vacations this summer. We did this and we did Calloway Gardens this Spring break. I’ll tell you all about Callaway on a future post. Did you know that Alan actually proposed to me at Callaway?

We also spent a ton of time chillin’ at home, with a lot fewer cares than we normally have. I wrote about that in Part I and Part II of my Spring Break 2017 series. We enjoyed those days too. Who can go, go, go ALL the time? That’s plain exhausting.

 

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

We did everything there was to do at Legoland Discovery Center, except for eat at the snack stand. Instead, we went to Johnny Rocket’s right across the hall.

We did everything in 2 hours, and everyone left happy. Everyone. Oh, and of course, we made time for the Legoland Discovery Center Store.

Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta

Batman!!!!

I zipped through the store picking out a little box for their Easter baskets, yeah, it’s going to be an awesome Easter, and then I parked myself on a bench outside the store. Anytime I go to Lego anything with Alan and the boys, I spend time sittin’ on the bench. I don’t see how they manage to fill up that much time gazing at Lego sets.

This was a perfect family day out for us. It was such a breeze sticking to day trips this Spring Break, rather than a big vacation. Come back this weekend for Spring Break Part 4: Callaway Gardens! My new favorite spot in Georgia!

 

 

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