Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vacation Blog (And Pictures Too!)

Well, I am finally going to blog about my vacation now. I will try to speak briefly about everything - but we did a LOT so this might be a little long. But, anyways, it was a very fun and eventful vacation!!

We left on the 7th and it was quite a day (which I will blog about separately later). The Lord was really watching over us and He got us to Gatlinburg safely (at like 2 a.m.!). Then, the following morning, we pretty much rested up and then did some shopping around the area.
Sunday, Mitch wanted to go to the Elvis Museum. It was pretty interesting. And, I know that there are a lot of you who are big Elvis fans. So, I took lots of pictures of the things we saw - including some rather interesting souvenirs in the gift shop. LOL The one thing that I just had to get was some Elvis sunglasses (which you will see me wearing in the photo album - if you decide to view the pictures).

That same day, we went to one of our favorite places to eat: Fuddruckers. We love the funny name and the REALLY good food! It’s a “build your own burger” kind of place - in case you have never heard of it. Then, after we ate, we went to Gatlinburg to shop around and to “Cooter’s Place” (The Dukes of Hazzard Museum) like we did last year. I took lots of pictures of that - for all you Dukes fans. ;) So, feel free to check out those pictures if you want.

On Monday, we went swimming at the indoor water park at the place we were staying. The kids really liked it - though the water was a little colder than we had hoped it would be for an indoor park. I took some pictures of it. It was pretty neat!

Next, we went to The Dinosaur Walk Museum. Casey had seen the big dinosaur skeleton outside the museum as we drove by. That’s all he talked about. So, we decided to go there so he could see the dinosaur models and everything. There wasn’t much to it, but Casey really enjoyed it - and I took lots of pictures for him. Though, I really would prefer to take him to a creation based dinosaur museum (like Dinosaur Adventure Land in Florida - we would love to go there sometime!).

Finally, we went to the first of the three shows that we planned on seeing. The first show being the Black Bear Jamboree. When you buy tickets for that show, and The Miracle Theater, you get The Comedy Barn show for free (they are all owned by the same company - which is a family oriented and a Christian based entertainment company). So, with that being said, you would think that there would be no worries about the entertainment, right? Well, you would be right - generally. It was clean, fun, and enjoyable…..all except Black Bear Jamboree. I was very disappointed in it because I found it extremely difficult to enjoy the show considering that almost EVERY costume worn by the women were very clingy and showed excessive (and I mean EXCESSIVE!!) cleavage!! I’m not kidding!! It was pretty bad; and also VERY sad!! That’s NOT what I expected at all and that certainly isn’t the image that was advertised in their brochures and video clips etc. In all their promotional materials, everyone looked wholesome and fully clothed. So, I was distracted, repulsed, and embarrassed by what we saw at the dinner theater and I made sure to say so on the comment card. If I had known that I would be so disappointed by the show, I wouldn’t have spent any money in the gift shop (or on the souvenir photo) that we purchased prior to the show. Therefore, I don’t recommend this show to anyone; unless they reevaluate their witness and priorities and clean up their show!! Coming from a Christian entertainment company, they really should know better!! It’s sad to see them singing some good songs in choir robes in one segment; but then, sexing it up in the next one!! ICK!!

Tuesday was a lot better - well, after lunch that is. We ate at a rather disappointing pizza/arcade place called Mr. Gatti’s. We WANTED to go to Pizza Planet, but during their “slow season” they don’t bother operating the food part of their facility. So, we left there and went to the other place - which was rather substandard. But, the rest of the day was more enjoyable. We went to the little Christmas shops and other neat places to look around before going to The Comedy Barn. We have been to The Comedy Barn before and we really enjoyed it. So, we were looking forward to the laughs and entertainment once again. It was a barrel of laughs; especially prior to the show even starting. That was because there was a cute little boy who decided to stand on the stage steps and ham it up with his cute little dances to the pre-show music. Everyone was laughing and applauding. Then, Gianna (not to be outdone) decided that she would go diva-style as well. LOL She got up and did her own thing on the other side of the stage. Then, she made her way over to the little boy and showed him how it was done. LOL She looked like she was scolding him and showing him how he was supposed to dance properly. She stomped her foot, as if showing him a dance move, and the both of them were just making friends and having a good time together. Then, I took video of them hugging as they made their way off the stage (which I have uploaded to You Tube if you would like to watch!). I also have pictures as well.

So, Tuesday ended up being a pretty good day. Wednesday was pretty good too. We went to the Knoxville Zoo (as we did last year) . Only this time, the weather was nice and not incredibly hot like it was last year. Also, I didn’t have strep-throat like I did the year before; so we all had a more enjoyable time. (And, I took lots of pictures of that as well!!). Then, after that, we went to The Miracle Theater. It was a good presentation; though I do have my objections to that one as well. For one, the man playing the part of Satan just wasn’t evil enough. Ok, I know that’s a bit of a strange complaint, but it’s true. He just wasn’t very menacing or convincing. He didn’t seem the least bit threatening, scary, or believable. But, aside from that, there were also things about the play that bothered me. Of course, it’s hard to condense the Gospels down effectively and touch on everything in Jesus’ life, but I think they could have done better. They also had instances in which some of the characters were speaking lines that weren’t attributed to them in God’s word. For example, when the woman anointed Jesus and Judas complained, Jesus was the one to tell him that they would always have the poor, but they wouldn’t always have Him [Jesus] (Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8). But, in the play, the woman was the one to say it. There were several instances like that in which things were omitted or changed; but I guess the movie (or play) is always different than the actual “book.” ;) Though, the play was still pretty good. As far as a recommendation goes, I think I’m pretty neutral. I wouldn’t tell someone not to see it, but I wouldn’t necessarily encourage it 100% because of some of the inaccuracies. Still, it does have the ability to be thought provoking and life-changing - especially to those who have no real knowledge of Jesus as all. So, for that purpose, I think it is still good.

One thing that I particularly took away from The Miracle performance was the friendships that Jesus had with his disciples. That part really seemed brought out to me and I saw things in new ways in regards to that. For example, Jesus knew and loved all his disciples. He knew their hearts and knew before He even chose them to be His closest friends that Judas would betray him, Peter would deny him, and that they would desert him. Yet, He still chose them. And, even though he did nothing to deserve their disloyalty, they still did the things they did. So, it just got me to thinking about how no matter who you are, everyone has conflicts. It also showed me that Jesus made friends with people even when He knew they wouldn’t always be good friends to Him. That doesn’t mean that He’s stupid or picked “bad friends.” But, they all had a purpose in His ministry; and for the sake of prophecy as well. Everything that happened had a purpose and just like He still does today, God uses “imperfect people“ to accomplish His “perfect will.” That’s just how I see things in my own life as well. Sometimes, you have conflicts with people. Sometimes, you even make friends with those who will eventually betray and leave you - whether you know it or not. It happens. It happens to us and it happened to Jesus. That doesn’t mean that we are stupid for being friends with someone or that they are bad people. All of it is for a purpose. No matter who I have known or been friends with in my life, it has all had a purpose. Some friends are there for a season, and some for a lifetime. Regardless, you learn something from everyone you encounter - that is, if you are open and receptive enough to learn in the first place. I, for one, can say that I have learned a LOT about people, friendships, etc. in all my short years of living on this Earth. LOL And, I know I will have much more to learn in the years to come!!

Speaking of friends, that brings me to the last segment of my vacation - which was meeting my best friend Terra. Thankfully, we were able to meet, because I believe Satan worked very hard to prevent it from happening!! Originally, she was supposed to come to Gatlinburg to stay with us for a few days - but that didn’t work out. Then, we were supposed to meet half-way and that almost didn’t work because she had to work. But, we decided to meet in Chattanooga after she got off of her shift. THAT almost didn’t happen either because right before we left, Casey broke out in a rash. We took him to the Pigeon Forge Medical Clinic (the same one that I went to when I got treated for strep-throat last year). The doctor said that it was either an allergy or bacteria/viral infection. He gave Casey a shot and then we had to get prescriptions for an anti-biotic and get some liquid steroid medication and some Zyrtec. (*Quick update on this* Casey finished the medication and I took him to his pediatrician a few days ago. She said that we will likely never know where that breakout came from or what caused it. He is fine now and had no other symptoms other than that rash. She gave me a prescription for an emergency shot/pen to inject him with in case it ever happens again and he has trouble breathing - which he had never had. Hopefully, this will never happen again. I just thank God he’s ok!!). So, anyways, the doctor said Casey was ok and considering that his rash was the only symptom, he was fine to travel and do everything as normal. Casey wasn’t sick or anything, so we went ahead and decided to meet Terra as planned.

Since we all had a late start, us (as well as Terra and her grandmother) got to Chattanooga rather late. So, we didn’t have much time to visit. But, what time we did have was GREAT and I was able to give her the gift basket I made for her for her birthday (which is TODAY so……HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRA!!!!!). We took some pictures, shared lots of laughs and hugs, then, reluctantly said good-bye. Hopefully, we will meet up again in the future (more than likely, Terra will be coming to n Indiana for a visit sometime soon!! Girl, I can’t wait for that!! Hee hee!). Oh, and on a side note, Gianna was the child we ended up having to worry about; as far as illness was concerned. (She threw up in the van before we left). But, other than that, everyone was fine and we had a nice visit. I’m glad we are all doing fine now.

So, after such a busy week, we were ready to come home. We stopped at a few places on the way back - including a movie theater in Lexington, Kentucky, so we could watch “Horton Hears A Who” (which I will be posting a review of as soon as I can!).

Since our return, we have been resting up and just trying to get back to “normal.” LOL I’m glad to be back and to be blogging again as well!! As I mentioned before, I have lots of things that I want to blog about (including that weight-loss blog series I have been talking about - I haven’t forgotten about that one! Don’t worry!!) I hope to be blogging on that and other things that I have been meaning to blog that have been on my heart. So, there will be lots more to come soon!!

Thanks for reading!! I hope it didn’t bore you too much!! LOL I appreciate all of you and all of your feedback and your friendships!! God bless you all!!

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