Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Trip Up North

Last fall when Beth Moore's 2014 Living Proof Live schedule came out, I noticed that there was an event in Eden Prairie, MN in April.  Mom and I discussed attending and inviting my grandma, aunts and cousins.  Since we live so far, we NEVER get to do things like this with family and I am so blessed, as mentioned in a previous post, to have a lot of women in my family with great faith.  This is the only thing I regret about living 1200 miles south of the rest of my extended family.  We decided to go with it and make a girls trip out of it.  It was such a perfect week.  Mom and I had never traveled just the two of us like that, so it was very precious time.

This post will share my trip -- it will be long, so read at your own risk.  Lots of photos, but this trip is one that REALLY meant a lot to me.  I am SUPER close to all of my grandparents and I know that life is limited and want to take advantage of every opportunity I can to spend quality time with them. They have invested so much into my life and are such role models of faith, healthy long term marriages, joy in family, serving our country, taking care of each other and cheering each other on.....I count my blessings every day!

Here we go!  Not going to be in perfect order....

Mom and I were jet set and ready to go BRIGHT and EARLY!  On an express jet, which I thoroughly dislike.  Why do they need to make planes SO small???

We spent the first half of our week in the cities with my Mom's side of the family and attending Living Proof Live.   The weather started out beautifully...highs in the low 60s, and the week got progressively colder which the pictures will show.  :) 

We landed and were able to take Grandma and Wally to lunch at Perkins and then headed back to Grandma's condo.  We had made plans to have dinner with my cousin Alicia and her husband Ben that night.  They are both ministers, so they weren't available the rest of the weekend due to work, so we wanted to make sure and catch up.  I didn't get a good pic of me and Alicia sadly.  (Alicia - next time I see you, we are taking a picture!)  Alicia is three years younger than me, but I feel like we are very similar in a lot of ways and as we have grown up, have grown closer.  I wish I could see her more and support her ministry more in person, but alas I cannot.  My Aunt Kathy (Alicia's Mom) was planning to come to Grandma's too after work and my cousin Erika decided to come by last minute with her kids.  

Erika has just moved back to MN from VA, so it was the first time I had seen her in almost 4 years.  Erika and I were SUPER close when we were little because we are 6 months apart in age.  We could never coordinate where we were both back in MN visiting at the same time, so I was very excited to see her and meet 3 of her 5 children I had yet to meet!  Her kids are precious.  We met at the park at Grandma's church so the kids could run around. 

Mom and Grandma enjoying the GORGEOUS weather.  One of the first warmer days in MN, so the natives were loving it.  To me, it felt like fall.

Aunt Kathy, Alicia and precious Lucy.

Baby Mikey, Lucy, Erika, Kathy, Mom and Grandma

Mary Rachel was serving me and Mikey "breakfast"

Alicia playing with Mary Rachel

Finally got a pic of Lucy....she turns away from the camera like my niece Alyssa -- she has the sweetest giggle and smile

Mikey Boy
Friday, Wally took us out to lunch and we ran a couple errands with Grandma and then headed out for Eden Prairie to LPL.  I wasn't sure how LPL would compare with Beth's Tuesday night studies at HFBC.  It was grander, but the teaching was just as good and the worship was PHENOMENAL!!!

Mom, Grandma and I on night one.  Love generational pictures!
My Aunt Sheryl attended the seminar with us.  I LOVE her!!

They started the evening with worship.  The first song was an amazing version of Forever Reign and really set the tone of the weekend.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE worship and could have worshiped the whole time!  

One of my favorite memories of Friday night was that I was able to worship with my Grandma by my side.  Although I don't have a picture, I would like to paint one for you because it will forever be grained into my mind. As they were wrapping up the evening with worship, Grandma was standing on my left side.  She put her right arm around me, so I put my left arm around her.  I had my right hand in the air and peeked over and Grandma had her left hand raised.  It was beautiful.  I so admire the faith of that woman.  Her and my Grandpa who passed away 10 years ago were the perfect example of a solid marriage and complete faith and trust in God.  The weekend we were in MN, it was the 10 year anniversary of Grandpa's funeral so it was neat to be with family and reflect back.

Saturday Beth brought great lessons about living out our faith daily.  It was a great time of learning...I would highly recommend you attend if you are able.  The only stop in TX in 2014 is in Lubbock.

Day too came early hence the sleepy eyes and blurriness

Grandma and I on day 2

Mom and Grandma
At the end of her discussion on Saturday morning, Beth had a time where she allowed others to share what God was telling them and then she would expound on their thoughts or pray or whatever she felt led to.  At one point she brought a girl down who had lost a child and had anyone who had lost a child stand up.  Beth prayed and then asked another woman to pray.  I did not stand up, because I felt that they were talking about women who had lost child after birth, not miscarriage...but the Spirit was definitely moving and although God has me in a great place right now regarding the miscarriage and TTC, I was getting a bit down in the moment.  As the woman was praying she made the comment, "We will get to see our children again in heaven and be able to hold their hands again."  In  my mind, I started thinking, "But I never got to hold my babies hand" and other doubting comments.  Beth followed the prayer with stating, aside from the loss of children, many women have suffered loss through miscarriage.  She then said, "this loss IS real.  Do not minimize your loss because you haven't physically met these children.  Your loss IS real."  In the moment I just lost a good way, because I hadn't realized how much I had tried to minimize my loss in comparison.  I wasn't sitting next to my mom, but looked down the aisle and my aunt and mom were sobbing, and so was I.  My mom moved down and hugged me and said "We will get to celebrate your children soon!"  It was a really sweet moment and led to a great convo between Mom and I later.  Love that my Mom is my closest friend.  Often times, people stop me and say "You know, your Mom is really special.  She is just really special."  I feel so blessed that number one I can say "Yes, BELIEVE me, I know she is."  As well as being able to say she is not only my mom, but my friend.

Saturday night was pretty quiet.  I did go for a run because the weather was amazing!  Nice and cool.

 Sunday was Palm Sunday.  It was Wally's birthday.  Wally is Grandma's close friend.  I find it very neat and a great picture of God's perfect timing, that on Palm Sunday 2014, which happened to be the 10 year anniversary of Grandpa's funeral, we were able to celebrate the 89th birthday of Wally, a new man in Grandma'a life that makes her laugh and brings her joy.  

We went to church and then headed to lunch to meet up with a bunch of our family and then we headed up north to spend the remainder of our trip with my other Grandparents.

Happy Birthday Wally!!

All the kiddos -- we were able to see Charles and Robyn and their sweet little girls Fable and Alyce.


The whole gang...I love how all the little kids snuck into the picture!

Our time up north was very relaxed which was needed because the first half of the trip was super busy.  We got to walk together a lot, enjoy the FREEZING temps.  It was 20 degrees!  Grandma made great food and we just chatted and laughed for three days.  It was perfect!  Their house at the lake is so gorgeous.  Should have taken more pics...their sunsets are ridiculous over the lake.

Just out for a nice spring stroll -- what!

Although this was an accidental photo I love it.  My grandparents laugh ALL the time!!!  

I always love visiting with Grandma and Grandpa.  My Grandma is somewhat reserved, but ever since my miscarriage has been one of the few not afraid to ask me how I am doing.  She has been a huge support for me.  Grandpa thinks we will end up adopting.  God only knows at this point. :)

I have a confession:  I LOVE LOVE puzzles.  Well, Grandma does too, so i knew she had a bunch at home, so Sunday when we arrived, I picked one out and Grandma, Mom and I spent much of our time on this puzzle for the remainder of our visit.  I think i picked her hardest puzzle! :)


Anyone still with me???  That was our trip!  Lots of great memories...much needed time off work!

Comment if you made it to the bottom and I will enter you into a drawing for something from Stella and Dot. :)

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"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well."

~Psalm 139:14