Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Years and Gatlinburg

Still recapping...

We got home from our Christmas travels around lunch time on Wednesday. After unloading the car, I grabbed some lunch and headed into work. Worked Wednesday through Friday, Saturday was New Years Eve. We watched the UK Louisville game at one of our favorite places, a place called Shamrocks that is right in our neighborhood. Then did laundry and got the house put together.

New Years Eve was spent with friends, out to eat and then back to their house to play games and hang out and ring in the new year together. It was a great, low key evening.

We slept in a little on Sunday, then woke up to pack our bags and head south to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. If you've never been to Gatlinburg, there's not really an adequate way to describe it. Lots of crazy, redneck attractions, but its right outside the Smoky Mountains. We went with a bunch of our LCA kids who are now freshmen in college.

There aren't really words to describe how wonderful this trip was. All I can say is that God knew what my soul needed, and gave us this trip. We stayed in an amazing cabin. One of the boys, Hunter, organized the whole thing. He brought so much food with him that we probably could have stayed another day or 2 and still not run out.

We spent lots of time just hanging out at the cabin. We watched football, ate food, played card games and board games, pinball and other arcade games, watched movies in the theater room, relaxed in the hot tub. We just hung out, and it was awesome.

When Hunter planned the trip, he had in mind that he wanted it to be a time where everyone could get together and process their first semester of college. Have some time where we all gathered together, let a few people share what God has been teaching them, and have some time in small groups to discuss life, our relationships with God, and take a look at how things are going. I loved having this opportunity to hear from the girls and to share some of my heart with them. I love that this was Hunter's desire for the trip.

Another fun part of the trip, was that Derek and I decided to have a little surprise for everyone. Our friend, PW Gopal, is an amazingly talented singer, songwriter, guitar player, speaker, performer, etc. And he lives in Ashville, NC, which is just under 2 hours from where we were staying. So one evening, we arranged for him to visit us and put on a little concert for everyone. It was awesome. I don't have other words to describe it. You can check out some of his music here. Everyone loved it and he stayed and hung out for the evening.

For us, a trip to Gatlinburg is never complete without a hike in the Smoky Mountains. On Monday, we organized a group hike up the Chimney Tops trail, which basically takes you to the top of a mountain. The hike was something that people seemed a little unsure of, and I'm pretty sure if we weren't there, they wouldn't have done. But we decided we would go, and everyone ended up coming, and lots of people said it was one of their favorite parts of the trip. I stole a few pictures of our hike off of facebook.


Like I said, it was a trip that was good for my soul. I'm so thankful for these friendships that God has given us through our ministry at LCA. It's so awesome to see so many of these friends pursuing the Lord and growing like crazy in college. We are so blessed to call them friends.

I wish I had actually taken some pictures of the trip, but maybe that can be a goal for this year - take more pictures! I think this pretty much catches us up through all the holiday activity. And we've been up to a few fun things since we've been back that I'll hopefully share soon!

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