Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Grand Adventure Part 4

Day 4-5 We never actually did succeed in getting enough sleep during our stay in Florida, so even though the sessions were extremely interesting and beneficial, the days did kind of blur together. Some highlights, though, were:
  • Learning: In addition to the sessions, we had Ken Ham as a special speaker one night, (At which time Katie bought lots of books, and since she said I could borrow them, we were both happy!) and we also went to the planetarium. It was nice to go to a planetarium show again, especially since the shows on campus were not jam-packed full of evolution! Katie and I both enjoyed the show a lot.
  • Eating: The food was very good! I even got to have cheesy grits, eggs, and bacon for breakfast! --My brother was jealous. : ) They also had real southern sweet tea... but more on that later.
  • Music: We were able to borrow a practice room and play piano/penny-whistle duets to our hearts' content! We also took the opportunity to score out a song I had written. We had a game we played while we were on campus that had to do with keeping track of what brand and style each piano we saw was. (There were two Yamahas and the rest were Kawai)
  • Being Amazed: by God's love for us as we heard each speaker bring up something that we had discussed in our morning and evening quiet times each day!

Day 6 We only had one session on the last day, and the rest of the day was spent rushing around to get all the last-minute details taken care of before our flight home. I had some sweet tea that morning, and again at lunch, which made me very jittery (And wide awake!) on our flights. Both our flights were bumpy, and that combined with the jitters made me rather on edge. The flights took longer, so I was very ready to be home! As we passed the mountain and the textured green of trees began, I was so excited that I was almost jumping up and down in my seat. (But it seemed like everyone else was excited, too, when the captain announced that we had begun the final descent.) It was all Katie and I could do to keep from cheering as the plane landed and we were safely home again!

A Grand Adventure Part 3

Day 3: We got up early that Monday morning, packed our respective bags for our outing, and ate a hurried breakfast in an attempt to arrive at the check-in desk for the seminar as early as possible. Our first session wasn't until late afternoon, so as soon as we were checked in we got into our rental car. Armed for the journey with Katie's GPS and the soundtrack from "Fiddler on the Roof", we headed to the freeway and made our way towards the general direction of the beach. Unfortunately, at a crucial T intersection I happened to have a decisive moment, and advised Katie to turn right. Of course, several blocks later we realized that I should never give directions when I haven't looked at a map.

We got going the right direction again after stopping in the Archaeological Society's parking lot to regain our bearings. Soon after, and almost by accident (Or was it completely by accident? The details escape me at the moment.) we found a visitor's center. The helpful and friendly man behind the desk gave us a map, highlighted the best beaches (and the fort I wanted to visit) and gave us directions. We were happy. : )

We drove along a long bridge, at the beginning of which we saw a sign that said "Check Gas. Long Bridge" and found ourselves in downtown Pensacola Beach. Following the appropriate signs, we found ourselves driving between two eerily white sand dunes, punctuated by dead trees and live sea oats. (I found out they were called sea oats at the fort's bookstore.) We drove for a while in this strange landscape, but still no fort. Katie was a little concerned, because she could see on the map that we were nearly at the tip of the spit of land we were driving on, at which point I had to laugh, because of the way she phrased her comments. ("We must be close, because we're running out of spit.") --Yes, we were tired. ; )

We finally found the fort, which was amazing. We spent hours exploring, and then went to the beach to dip our toes in the balmy water. We also gathered a few shells, which actually made it back intact!! I did miss the icy chill of the Pacific, though! Between the humidity of the air, and the temperature of the water, I almost couldn't feel the difference when we stepped into the water.

The sessions were wonderful and very helpful, and afterwards we went to our rooms, determined to get more sleep than the previous nights. (Which, of course didn't happen.)

And that was day 3...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Shameless Plug

We interrupt the Florida posts for some breaking news... My mom just put up a blog! : )

Come and see it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Grand Adventure Part 2

How good it is to be home again! For those of you who would like to see pictures, you can get to them by clicking the Flikr link at the side of my blog.

There is much I could say about our trip, but I think the best way to tell about it would be chronologically. So... here goes!

Day 1 Saturday was spent mostly in traveling, though we had a great time talking and laughing our way through both flights and the navigation of unfamiliar streets to get to our hotel. Katie and I quickly found out that we are more alike than either of us had realized, which was good because we were going to be stuck with each other for 5 days. We found our way to the hotel with a minimum of confusion, and after checking in, we got into the elevator --at which time I found out that elevators make Katie a bit dizzy. Unfortunately, the stairs were outside in the 104 degree weather, so we opted for dizziness. Thankfully, she didn't walk into any walls during our time there. (Although I nearly did once without being dizzy!)

Day 2 After staying up entirely too late the night before, we got up early enough to have breakfast before walking what seemed like a very long way across campus to church. It was very strange to be cold in one's room, and then walk outside at 8 a.m. to find it warmer than a hot day at home would be! Once we found our way to church, we wandered around the huge building for a while, "happening" to find a doorway that gave us a good view of the orchestra practice. : ) Eventually we stumbled upon (but not literally, thankfully!) an usher standing outside a Sunday school classroom. After talking with a few people, who each reacted exactly the same way when we told them where we were from, ("Wow! You're a long way from home! Are you here for the seminar?" we went into the classroom and took our seats. When the teacher had all the visitors stand and say where they were from, we discovered that the person sitting next to us was from the same state as we were!

After Sunday school, we wandered a bit more before finding seats in the sanctuary with a sufficient view of the orchestra. While we waited for the service to start, we examined the hymnal to see if our favorite hymns were in it (At which time Katie decided we were both hymnal geeks.) and enjoyed people-watching --for which we had an abundant supply of subjects, as the room was ginormous! The sermon was very good, but we both missed our church's enthusiasm when one of the songs was "Beulah Land" (Praise God!) Over all, we enjoyed both services, and were blessed to discover that God had decided to tailor the messages to complement the very things we had discussed during devotions that morning!

After church in the evening, we went out to get some food from what the GPS said was an Albertson's, but which turned out to be a different grocery store on the same spot. (Go figure!) As we drove there, we could see flashes of lightning behind the clouds and hear thunder. --We felt right at home! : )

And then, after discovering that "cinnamon roll" pudding tasted just like oatmeal, we tried to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. (Failing miserably in the attempt.) : )

And that was day two...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hyper-ness and Hilarity

I am writing from sunny (well, it was before the sun went down.) Florida! It is the last night of our trip, and I am writing this while Katie packs her remaining belongings. --I think she might be trying to pack most of it into her shoes... but I can't be sure.

It has been an amazing trip thus far! We have both been enjoying the seminar, while trying to cram as much of the knowledge that has been flooding over us into our brains as possible.

Speaking of cramming as much as possible into an inadequate space... we have spent much of the evening trying to make all of our ever-increasing stuff fit back into the bags that were full before we came. Thankfully, much of my accumulated "useful junk" is flat, and my bag looks like it will actually close! (Although it might be necessary for me to sit on it to make it do so.) It seems like every time we walk past the bookstore we end up buying something new...

Church tonight was a blessing, although we both miss our beloved home church very much. --After all, there's no place like home. (she says as she dons her imaginary ruby slippers and thinks of rain, chilly 85 degree summer days, and home-cooked meals.)

In addition to our studies, we were able to do many "touristy" fun things on this trip. Monday we went to the beach, admired the blindingly white (but wonderfully soft and un-rocky) sand, dipped our toes into the balmy water (which wasn't actually all that refreshing, since it seemed not to be much cooler than the air) and collected shells, which I have packed very carefully in my bag. --I'm choosing to be optomistic about their future well-being during the course of our travels tomorrow.-- We also visited a great historical fort nearby, which was fascinating! Unfortunately, that was where I found out that it is possible for me to get sunburnt through a layer of sunscreen if the sun is hot enough.

Today we were able to go to a wonderful show at the planetarium here on campus. --We were especially impressed by the "specially designed" seats that automatically reclined. (Some people are so easily amused!) Seriously, though, the show was amazing, and so refreshingly free from evolution! It was quite an experience!

Our time here has been a great blessing, and it is exciting to see how the Lord is preparing us for the coming schoolyear through these few days of training.

Hopefully there will be some more posts about our trip, once I am home...