Monday, May 16, 2011

Highlights from a Week in "The Promised Land"

I spent all of last week at my parent's house in Greenville, SC -- a city that we've dubbed "The Promised Land."  This beautiful area, often referred to as "the buckle of the Bible Belt," has much to offer its residents and visitors, and safely holds a treasure chest of memories for me, since I grew up in Greenville, and then spent many happy years raising my family in the greater Upstate area, before being transplanted to Georgia.

My Dad's cataract surgery was the motivation for our trip, but I decided to go up early, so I could spend Mother's Day with my Mom.  Unfortunately, she was sick in bed, and I didn't even see her on Mother's Day!  :(  The good news is she got well and was able to be up and around for most of the week and my Dad's surgery was a success!   I think he will have 20/20 vision in that eye!  (Maybe there is a silver lining to getting old!)

While in the area, we made time to see old friends, attend special events -- an Eagle Scout Ceremony, a wedding and two recitals, spend time with my precious and much-missed daughter, Ashlyn, and have some family fun! 

We spent two very pleasant afternoons at this awesome park (one with Ashlyn!).

The weather was beautiful, and the sand gnats were noticeably and gloriously absent!!  ;)

This park is unique in that it has a smaller playground for young children, which is seen in the picture above, as well as a playground that is fun for much older children, which is shown in the following pictures.

When Hannah got tired of playing, she zoomed in on some of the natural beauty, as illustrated by the picture below.

A week or so before leaving town, I gave Luke and Matt some pretty bad haircuts, while trying to reshape a professional haircut that wasn't to our liking.  So, I decided to take them to see Mike!  He has cut my Dad's hair for a great many years, and used to give haircuts to Alan and the boys back in the early 2000's.  He was surprised and pleased to have Luke and Matt sitting in his barber chair once again!

I should have taken before/after pictures . . . but trust me, their haircuts look very nice!

This is just a random picture of Hannah, sitting in my parent's back yard.

One highlight of the week for me was getting to see my dear friend, Lori.  Unbelievably, we have been friends through thick and thin for the past twenty years!  We share a common love of books, ideas, writing, and encouraging others, and spent the early years of our friendship shaping and refining our ideals and visions for our families . . . while we've spent the latter years redefining many of those ideals to fit present realities!  ;)  It was a treat to meet her for coffee and a delicious high-carb breakfast early one morning at Atlanta Bread Company, where we tried to squeeze as much catching up as we could into our sliver of time together.

The delightful lady below, is my Mom's long-time friend, Jean.  She gave us a tour of her newly-renovated home, and while it was all absolutely beautiful and amazing, this was my favorite spot!!  This sun room looks out over her nicely landscaped backyard, but what grabbed my attention was the mural that had been painted on this previously exterior wall.  This incredibly life-like mural was created from a picture of her husband's old homeplace in South Georgia.  I know my photos can't do it justice -- but it was just incredible!  I was so captivated by it that I didn't want to stop gazing at it!

Saturday was my 28th wedding anniversary -- but I was not able to spend it with my hubby.  :(  However, I did spend it at one of the sweetest, most joyful weddings I've ever been to in my life!  I was so touched by the sweet ceremony and the exchange of vows, that tears slipped silently from my eyes throughout the entire service!  Here is the precious, godly couple, smiling with pure joy from just being announced husband and wife!

The wedding was held in the church that we still consider our "home church" in Greenville, after being actively involved in the life of that fellowship for over a decade.  It was a JOY to see many old friends, including our former pastor, and the founder of that church, Pastor Joner!  He is such a godly man, an exceptional expository preacher and devoted shepherd of his flock, and so very dear to our family!  It brought tears to my eyes just to hear his familiar booming voice lifted in prayer!!  He stood with our family during both births and deaths and a multitude of joys and sorrows, and the words that he often spoke from the pulpit are indelibly stamped on our hearts!

The reception was held at the Evangelical Institute, where Ashlyn attended school, and you'll never guess who the wedding photographer was -- yes, it was our own multi-talented Ashlyn!!  :)  It was quite fun for me to see her in action!!

I was also excited to see my friend, Melissa, whom I have not seen in a very long time!!

And it was fun to see her beautiful daughter, Christie, with her husband and adorable children!!  Aren't they a precious family??

And here I am with the Fantastic Five!"  (Doesn't "fantastic five" sound way better than the "bottom five??")   ;)

We finally got to see ShutterBooth in action  . . . and even enter the booth ourselves for some crazy pics, after hearing of Ashlyn and Bethany's many ShutterBooth Adventures!  It is a really neat concept!

The creatively decorated get-away car!!  :D

Saying good-bye to Nanny and PaPa after an eventful week!


Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Wow!! What an awesome week! Great pictures. Loved seeing the picture of your mom, her testimony still speaks to me today. I loved it and she is so beautiful!

Greg and Donna said...

Looks like you had a great visit. The mural is fantastic! You've got a beautiful family!

Claire said...

Enjoyed this post,Elizabeth. It was so nice to see you and the Fab Five :)

Christie said...

The pictures all turned out wonderfully! I can't wait to see Ashlyn's pictures... I know they're going to be amazing! She's so gifted in photography.

Noel said...

What a wonderful trip! :). My husband and I spent our first two years of married life up there in Greenville :)

Martha said...

I love your gradient blue skirt! and that mural is awesome. I would like to know more about the shutter booth.

Heather said...

I love your outfit at the park! :)

Heidi said...

Great photos Elizabeth - it was nice to see your GROWING kids - I guess you are bound to be the shortest in your clan, as I am in mine :)
Wasn't it nice to be able to come back for a week that had so many special events? So glad to know things are going well with your father, too. Blessings to you and your children - this blog is an encouragement!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Ours,
I happened to stumble upon your blog and I am wandering if
that was by any chance BEN's eagle scout ceramony? (I don't wish to say his last name). I thought I recognized you there, but didn't get a chance to talk to you! You see, Ashlyn used to be my sunday school teacher in middle school and if you have a daughter named Tiffany, I believe she used to give me piano lessons. So I am quite excited:)


busymomof10 said...

Hi Susanna,

Yes, I was at Ben's Eagle Scout Ceremony! And, yes -- Tiffany and Ashlyn are my daughters! :) So glad you stumbled upon my blog!

SpringMeadowsMama said...

I am so glad I found you! We live in the Greenville area also (Fountain Inn) and just have been here 3 years and LOVE it. We moved here for our church Greenville Presbyterian Church. Rob McCurley is the pastor. I have a blog I hope you will check it out since we have alot in common. :) I am going to follow you. Nice to meet you!

Rebecca's Refining said...

It looks like you had a wonderful week in Greenville! We may have to check out the park there...though it may be way too hot for us by July!

I LOVE Jean's is beautiful! I should have been giving my children art lessons through the years so maybe one of them could do that for me!

I loved all the pics of the family! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

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