Thanksgiving Roadtrip – 2019

I haven’t been with my family for Thanksgiving for over 10 years. Most of the family lives in sunny Arizona, while I’m in South Carolina. That’s a big trip, especially at the holidays. This year I started planning early, and I planned big. I let all my siblings know I was coming and I hoped that we could all be together at Thanksgiving. I talked dates with my husband, and we both requested time off from work. We planned and packed, and finally the day came: time to leave for 2 whole weeks with my family!

Day 1: Travel

We got up at the crack of dawn and drove 18 hours our first day. It was exhausting, but worth it. We hit 8 states that day, and spent the night in Amarillo, Texas. I brought a sweater with me as travel knitting. 

South Carolina

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Georgia

Alabama

Mississippi (where I did a little sweater surgery)

Tennessee

Arkansas

Oklahoma

Texas

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Day 2: Travel

On day 2 we spent about 10 hours on the road. We were wiped out from the previous day, so we stayed the night in Flagstaff, Arizona. As we went further and further west we started seeing red rock and cacti. It felt like home.

Texas

New Mexico

Arizona

Day 3: Travel + Family Time

We drove the 2 hours from Flagstaff to Phoenix, and spent the rest of the day resting and enjoying being with my family.

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My sister drew this picture of me as a Lord of the Rings character. We’re all nerdy and artistic in this family!

Days 4-5: Family Time

We laughed a lot and made Christmas cookies. We were also able to spend some time with friends. My husband made us all eggnog (pro tip: homemade eggnog is way better than store bought).

Day 6: Thanksgiving Day

We made even more cookies, and cooked Thanksgiving dinner as a family. We decorated my mom’s house with Christmas lights. All my siblings and even some adopted siblings were able to make it. This was such a pleasant, homey day. It was everything I wanted it to be.

Day 7: Travel

My grandma lives in California, so we headed over to see her, as well as my aunt, uncle, and cousins.

Arizona

California

Day 8: Sightseeing

My husband and I went to the San Diego Zoo, then watched the sunset at the beach. 10/10, would recommend!

Day 9: Family Time + Thanksgiving 2.0

We spent the morning with my grandma, then had a second Thanksgiving dinner with the California branch of the family. This was the first time my husband got to meet this side of the family.

I had brought my sourdough starter to make bread for the family, and expose it to some different yeasts/conditions, and this is the day I made sourdough bread (for the record, I don’t think my sourdough bread tastes any different now that I’m home).

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Day 10: Travel

Back to Phoenix for one last day with my family.

California

Arizona

Day 11: Family Time + Packing

Getting ready to leave is always bittersweet.

Day 12: Travel

No matter where you’ve been or who you’ve been with, there’s something satisfying about heading home.

Arizona

New Mexico

Texas

Oklahoma (it was dark and we were tired)

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Day 13: Travel

Home again, home again, jiggedy jog.

Oklahoma

Arkansas

Tennessee

Mississippi

Alabama

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Georgia

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South Carolina

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This was the best Thanksgiving I can remember. Thanksgiving is a hard time of year for my family, and it was so good to make some truly spectacular memories of this holiday. I am so glad we went, and very thankful to my husband for driving us 5,000 miles/60 hours across the country (I tried to drive, but he wouldn’t let me).

2019 Roadtrip

Traveling Socks

Last week my husband and I visited some of my relatives a few hours away from where we live. We packed up and set out on our journey.

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We stopped in the lovely Asheville, NC for lunch. As we were exploring we came upon a yarn shop and my husband encouraged me to go in (he is a keeper).

skywool

That’s 3.1 oz of Merino combed top and a skein of Viking Raggen for man gloves. What else do you expect when visiting a yarn store?

We made it to my family’s house mid-afternoon and spent the evening talking and visiting. When it was time for bed I was surprised by the most beautiful quilt.

quilt detailfull quilt

The next morning we explored my uncle’s garden, picking beans and learning how to dig potatoes. It is super hard work. I spoiled quite a few potatoes finding that out.

We had a picnic lunch with more of the family that came by to see us. We even had an unexpected visitor!

My husband was tired from digging potatoes, so he took a nap.

nap

He had a lot of fun playing with the dogs.

As the afternoon waned we got ready to come home to the city.

This sock has a lot of good memories knit into it now.

 

Bits and Bobs

When I was a little girl I loved to play dress up with my dolls. Somehow or other I acquired 2 doll tea sets – one made by my grandmother. I’m becoming a bit of a collector!

tea sets

I’ve mentioned before that I come from a crafty family – here are some tiny animals my youngest sister made (there are also a few polymer clay animals made by my middle sister).

pom pomsknits

And since we’re on the topic of family, here is a picture of my great-grandfather that I just saw for the first time.

great grandfather

He looks so old and wise.

 

Story Time

Once upon a time a very wee girl lived with her mommy and daddy and her big brother. Christmas was just around the corner, so the daddy took his son and daughter Christmas shopping for their mommy. They went from store to store until they had all found the perfect gifts for her. Now the daddy gave his son and daughter strict instructions not to tell their mother what they had bought her for Christmas – the gifts were supposed to be a surprise, after all.

So when they got home the mommy with a mischievous twinkle in her eye asked her wee daughter, “Bethany*, what did you get me for Christmas?”

You must understand at this point that Bethany was a mostly obedient child. So she answered her mother not by telling her what the present was, but by saying, “I can’t tell you, but it doesn’t have a doggy on it!”

“BETHANY!!!” burst her brother, “You weren’t supposed to tell her!!!”

“But I didn’t tell her that it was a teapot with a kitty on it!”

*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Adventuring

Hello friends! It has been over a week since I last posted, but that is because I’ve been on an adventure! I live in the the South, where Summer is sticky and sweet tea flows freely. But my family lives in the Southwest, land of dry heat and exquisite sunsets. Consequently, I don’t get to see them often, and this makes me sad. I just spent the last week and a half with my family, soaking in the sun’s rays, and packing up most of the stuff I left behind when I moved to where I am now. Then my brother and I drove a small moving truck back here (since he’s moving here, too). Let me tell you, driving those things is hard! But my adventure over the last 2 weeks reminds me of my adventure last summer when I went to Europe. I’ve never been more than just barely proficient with technology, so I didn’t figure out how to blog from my Kindle until the summer was almost over. But I think the time has now come to share my experiences from my summer in Europe. So over this summer I will be periodically posting journal entries from a year ago, sharing my thoughts and observations from a foreign culture.

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A Journal of Impossible Things: My journal is so called because this summer I will watch God do things that seem utterly impossible.
River wrote in her journal, the original Journal of Impossible Things, of her adventures. All the strange people and places and things she encountered. These things all together were so improbable as to be impossible. But that description applies to God’s work, too. People don’t believe in God, don’t believe in miracles, but God is alive and well and working constantly. He is the One who makes truly impossible things possible.

May 22
All our bills have been paid. There are 26 of us, and the cost is $5,000 each.Two of our members needed $2500 each just a few days ago. God is so good to provide for us.

May 23
Landed safely in Frankfurt and then Geneva. Didn’t sleep much on the flight, and we are all very tired. The poor drivers have to drive on little sleep. Through a miscommunication we ended up putting gas into a diesel engine. Thank the Lord we caught it before we turned the engine on. The repairs were minimal – both in scale and cost. God gave us a safe trip to Grindelwald despite fatigue and weather conditions. We stayed in a youth hostel in the Swiss Alps. When we got up in the morning it had snowed and the scenery was so beautiful! Thank God for the beauty of His world!

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May 24
Woke to snow in the Alps. Drove to Gummersbach – a 6 hour trip. Hopefully one of the longest drives of the summer.
The church in Gummersbach is Russian-German. Hundreds of years ago the Czar offered German people land in Russia if they would come farm it. Many went and were then caught behind the Iron Curtain. When it was lifted they came back to Germany – still German because they had formed their own communities in Russia – but they had picked up the Russian language and customs. Most of these churches are very conservative. This church has a huge split in culture between the older and younger generations. The culture split works here much better than in America. Or maybe they just put their best foot forward for their American guests.

May 26
Today we started our trip to Austria. We stayed in a youth hostel in Bavaria – a fortress, actually.
Yesterday 9 of us went with our hosts to a history museum in Bonn. It detailed Germany’s history since WWII. They don’t want to forget the Holocaust and how many people died without cause.

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May 27
Last night we stayed at a castle in Bavaria! When we got to the church in Linz we ate wonderful food – including the most amazing schnitzel!

May 28
Before we left Linz we visited a baroque church in Pöstlingberg which had a view of the whole city. Inside the church we sang “God so loved the world” in German. I love singing that text in places like that. We can give them the truth from their own scriptures.
I am staying with a missionary family, and the missionary wife and I had a wonderful conversation over evening tea – sharing our experiences and what God has taught us. When I told her about how my dad and brother had died she said she remembered hearing about our family and that she prayed for us. God has chosen to use our testimony all over the world. After another team member gave his testimony yesterday I realized the power that telling a story can have. I realized that I need to tell my story. My conversation with the missionary wife confirmed that.

Blessed

I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful family. I grew up as one of 6 children, and let me tell you: I learned a lot about sharing and kindness from my siblings! Now all but two of us kids has left the nest and scattered around the country. But that doesn’t mean we are any less a family! I told you about how my mom volunteered her help when I opened my Etsy shop, but I didn’t tell you that both of my sisters offered, too! I told you I was blessed!

Here I reveal the first of my sisters’ pieces: Kathryn’s Handy Cell-Phone Purse

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Aren’t they beautiful? I taught her to knit just this Christmas, and she took to it like a duck to water. I’m more than a little proud.