Friday, January 06, 2012

Hello Steamboat Springs, Colorado!

Every couple of years my Dad and Aunt take all of us (26 people, including my brother's family and my cousins' families) on a big vacation. In the past we traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2006 and we enjoyed a Caribbean cruise in 2009. For our third trip we left the day after Christmas for an 8 day trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (We have also been on many trips around the south, too.) This trip was so.much.FUN! As Andy and I are not part of the family business that my Dad, Aunt, cousin, and brother work together for, we feel so blessed and thankful to be included on this trip where my Dad and Aunt pay for us to enjoy such rich experiences. WE ARE SO THANKFUL!! How can we say thank you enough?? Here were some of the highlights: Exquisite suites with an amazing concierge who helped us daily with rentals, reservations, and recommendations. We were spoiled all week both with the accommodations and the fact that we walked across the street and were on the slopes!

A horse-drawn sleigh ride under starlight was beautiful, even if our teeth were chattering!
We loved our dinner on the ranch (after the sleigh ride), complete with music and "roping lessons". Loved seeing the kids and adults dance and play! A day on snow mobiles with the kids was a blast. The views were spectacular! Ski school and private ski lessons for the children were such a gift! My boys went from never skiing to racing down the slopes with their Dad. Seeing them enjoy and excel at a new sport is such a thrill! My little girl learned how to go fast and stop herself quite well on skis. She was fearless, too. We enjoyed several very delicious meals with the whole gang. (Aunts, Uncles, and cousins just around the corner.) New Year's Eve boasted fireworks and skiers zooming down the mountain with torches! (**And Auburn won their bowl game!)For down time...we had lots of time hanging out with cousins and aunts and uncles. I read a very, very good book cover-to-cover on airplanes and during restful moments. We had a quiet day at a movie and shopping with the kids when we needed a break from the slopes. Downtown Steamboat Springs is really fun and quaint! I am trying to be thankful for the stomach bug the kids got on the last couple of days, which was admittedly horrific, but taught me several things as I listened and watched for God. First of all, if you wake up at 5 am and feel a deep sense that your child should not go to ski school, just don't send her!! (I didn't listen and I am convinced this is where the stomach bug was picked up!) Also, I am learning to pray specifically and trust in God's good hand. I prayed for God to please spare us any vomiting on the airplane trips home. One child threw up in the rental car just seconds before we got out at the airport. Another threw up after we arrived in Birmingham at the baggage claim area. But for 8 hours we had no vomiting or upset stomach on either of the airplanes. This was a blessing that really grew my faith! Thank you, Lord!! With six kids (mine and my brother's) who had the stomach bug on the way home, not a single one got sick on the airplanes!! And it was a LONG trip! And, I am EXTREMELY relieved that my Mom was in our suite as well, and did not get the virus. This is quite a miracle as her immune system is so compromised with the chemotherapy! Yay!! Also, beyond those prayers we were blessed with three kids who did not complain about the trip home, even though they were as sick as could be. Wow. It was actually a smooth, easy trip home-by God's grace! Here was my sweet son beside me on the plane, quietly yawning. Poor guy. It is so deeply encouraging to witness God take a rookie farmer and his wife and continue to provide for our family beyond our wildest imaginations! He continues to bless us, and we are so undeserving! I was so worried that my children would "do without" when we moved here. But instead, they have enjoyed blessing after blessing! In fact, somehow they have had more opportunities, which I am sure is God affirming our big leap of faith in moving here. The sweet love and generosity of our family to share their resources with us in order to give us such a once-in-a-lifetime trip together makes us feel so treasured by family and by God! Thank you!! We had such a wonderful week with fun times that will be permanently etched in our memories!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 3: 20-21 (New American Standard version)

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