We examined the calendar once more and found the only other possible weekend. Thankfully and surprisingly, everything fell into place and we were able to getaway together, just the two of us, to go back "home" for a whirlwind road trip. God's timing turned out to be absolutely perfect. It was an incredibly blessed trip.
One of the great blessings was being welcomed beautifully and lovingly. We stayed first with our good friends Jim and Ginna, who truly have the gift of hospitality. We were greeted with roses in our bedroom, a kind note and some thoughtful gifts, and most of all warmth and love.
It was great to be back in my home state, a state I will always love, and the company of longtime friends.
That evening we got a table for twenty at Red Robin and were surrounded by old friends and good food, then headed to our friends Joey and Stephanie's house to play cards with some couples. These couples spent countless nights around our kitchen table playing games when they were in college and our children were babies. Now it was their babies asleep in the other room and their table we laughed around until our sides hurt.
The next morning God sent me flowers, or so it seemed to me. I was the first one downstairs and was greeted by this sight...
Daffodils have been my favorite flower for many, many years. In college I would look forward to trips home in the spring because my drive down the country roads from Virginia to Maryland would be decorated with rows and rows of yellow daffodils. Every year Jimmy would bring me bouquets of daffodils during their short season of life. But you don't see rows of daffodils in Florida. I think of them every spring. My friend Donna who lives in Lynchburg even lets me know every year when the daffodils are in full bloom and decorating the roadside. So when I woke up and was greeted by a beautifully set breakfast table and a fresh bouquet of my favorite flower, I couldn't help but thank God for His extravagant love, even in the details.
After a leisurely homemade breakfast and laughter over coffee refills, we headed to DC on a gorgeous Saturday. Our first stop was Georgetown so I could finally visit the famous Georgetown Cupcake! That was a definite treat!
We ate dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, a favorite DC restaurant of ours. We hold a few very special memories at this historic restaurant, and had the most beautiful table for eight by the front window.
DC is such a magnificent city at night. We said goodbye to dear friends in the glow of the nation's capital, then headed west to stay with our friends Dave and Allyson.
Allyson and I have literally been friends since I was around four years old and got marbles stuck in the sink of her play kitchen. We have been friends through the changing seasons of life and ministry, and served as staff wives together for a few years. We have many dear memories with her and Dave and their family. Several years ago they even came down to Florida and the four of us went on a cruise! I hold the fondest of memories from that trip. It was a joy to spend quality time with them again. I can't adequately put into words the encouragement we find in our friendships with other pastor's families. It's a unique bond and source of refreshment and nourishment.
We worshiped together, talked and talked and talked some more, ate Mexican food, made a late night donut run in our sweatpants, and hung around the house with their family.
Then the boys headed to the mountain while the girls headed to the outlet mall.
I even ended our visit in their sweet home napping by the fireplace with their dog Daisy while Allyson made dinner for everyone. Talk about a rare treat!
We said more goodbyes then made the sixteen hour trip home. Both the drive there and back were filled with rich conversation and sweet time with Jimmy. I was reminded once more how he is my very best friend and confidant. An added treat was that we got to eat lunch with dear friends in North Carolina on our way back. And actually, our time with old friends continued after we returned home. Joey and Steph, whose home we had visited briefly, were in town for a vacation and they spent Friday night with our family. I am so thankful we have been a part of each others journeys in life and ministry. That is a gift!
Then my dear friend Laurie came into town!! I got to spend the day with her and my friend Nanette at the breathtaking Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, just walking and talking and taking in beauty.
Then Jimmy's dad and family came into town for spring break, and we have been enjoying visiting and making memories with them the past several days.
We even got to enjoy a Disney Easter parade and lunch at the new Be Our Guest restaurant for the first time thanks to their generosity!
Now here I sit, realizing once more as I look at these photos and reflect on these recent visits and memories that God is so gracious and generous. He is a God of relationships and beauty and detail.
We are blessed.
We are thankful.