Travel Diary – Day One (March 5)
We had a long day of travel on Wednesday. It took us about 17 hours to drive to Florida. We were all pretty exhausted by the time we arrived. We were surprised to learn that we crossed over into a different time zone, so it wasn’t as late as we thought. What a blessing. We were all in bed shortly after 10 PM. I think we all fell asleep immediately. Not bad considering we all was in the same room.
Travel Diary – Day Two (March 6)
Thursday morning found us getting up, showering, eating breakfast and preparing to visit Pensacola Christian College. My 11th grade son was excited about the opportunity to stay in the dorm to see what college life is like. Even though he has been taking some college classes at home, he just travels the couple miles to the University for his classes, and then back home again. So this was a new experience for him.
We were able to attend Chapel services, and then the three of us headed back to the Campus House (motel only open to PCC visitors) while my oldest son stayed on campus to take in classes, dorm life, etc. We met back with him for a tour of the campus.
Travel Diary – Day Three (March 7)
This morning the three of us awoke and decided to do a little touring before meeting up with our older son, in the afternoon. It was a beautiful, warm day with temperatures in the 70’s. (We hear PA is to receive snow this weekend). We traveled further down Pensacola to the Naval Base and were able to see the Gulf of Mexico. We walked on the beach with white sand, and collected sea shells. We also were able to see a lighthouse, Aviation Museum and Fort. We had a lot of fun touring around before hurrying back to the campus.
We met up with our oldest son at 3 PM. He told us about his opportunity to attend several classes, attend another Chapel service, and most importantly pray about the college. He really feels that this is where God is calling him to attend college. My husband and I have been feeling the same thing as well. So we stepped out in faith and filled out the enrollment paperwork this afternoon. We received a sizable discount, by filling it out before leaving.
This was a real step of faith for us. Even though the college is only $6500 a year for room, board and tuition, it still is way out of our price range. Our son has a potential of getting an Academic Scholarship that will cover a small portion of the cost, but there still is a lot that it won’t cover, and we can not afford. But we still feel that God is calling us to step out and trust Him, even when we can’t see the future.
God has often done that to us through the years of our marriage – to trust and follow Him, even when the way doesn’t seem to make sense. It has not always been easy, but we never have regretted walking in faith.
I got a lump in my throat this afternoon when I saw my son in this college setting and realized that it is only a short time before he leaves the nest and starts out on his own. I realize how quickly the years have flown. Sometimes I want to somehow catch hold of them and hang on to them before they slip through my fingers. I pray that he will always desire to follow the Lord and will have a rich relationship with his Heavenly Father.
Travel Diary – Day Four (March 8)
Today we picked our oldest son up from Pensacola Christian College. We again spent most of the day in travel. We traversed from Pensacola to Kissimmee, which is south of Orlando. While we drove we had some great discussions about how do you know God’s will, and how do you know when He is speaking to you. Both of our sons asked questions, particularly our youngest son. We were able to talk to our older son about his decision to go to Pensacola (in the future) and how he knew whether or not it was something God was calling him to do or not.
Through our years of marriage we have made several trips across country. My in-laws used to live in Kansas, and almost every year we drove to visit them. Some of our fondest memories have been during this time in the car, when we had some quality discussions together.
Four years ago, all of my husband’s immediate family traveled to Florida to vacation together at Disney World. We all had a fun time, but our most memorable vacation was two years ago when we vacationed in North Pennsylvania and saw the PA Little Grand Canyon. We stayed in a mobile home that we rented for very cheaply. We did day trips and then each night we would come back to supper that had cooked in the crock pot all day. We spent the evenings playing games and just talking.
It is a real blessing to me when we have times like today when we can just talk and have some good quality conversation with our boys about what it means to follow Jesus, and what it takes. What a blessing.
Travel Diary – Day Five (March 9)
We woke up early and all of us were tired. We lost two hours of sleep because not only was it daylight savings, but also we had just come from the Central time zone. YAWN! We were up early because we were invited to a free breakfast if we would come listen to a presentation to buy a time share. We said yes because of the breakfast.
It was easy to say no to their sales pitch because we have no money to put down and no money we can afford to pay each month. Because we sat through the pitch, we received a $100 VISA gift card. What a blessing.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing, napping, doing a church service together, and walking around the compound area where we are staying, watching a movie and generally just having a good time hanging out together as a family. I made one of those complete meals in a box. It was wonderful to have some real food. While we stayed in Pensacola we had a continental breakfast included with our stay (Danishes and juice), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, and then cup of ramen soup for supper because all you needed to do was add hot water. The three of us were pretty hungry by the time we left there. Our oldest son had stayed in the dorm and had eaten food there.
Travel Diary – Day Six (March 10)
We slept in and ate a late breakfast. I started doing some laundry loads. We ate lunch and then decided to go visit Downtown Disney (it’s free). We had fun just walking around and taking in the sights and the shops. Our sons were given some early birthday money so they could do some shopping while we are on vacation. My youngest son decided to spend some of his money in the Lego store.
On our way home we stopped at the local Wal-Mart to pick up some extra groceries that we needed. We used our gift card, so it didn’t cost us anything. Praise God. We saw Florida shirts with Mickey Mouse on them for only $5 so my husband decided we should each get one as a souvenir since we won’t be able to buy anything when we go to Disney World for the day on Wednesday. We also got a Mickey Mouse key chain for under $2 that we will turn into a Christmas ornament. Most times we vacation we try and get a Christmas ornament as a souvenir. I honestly had a hard time spending the money on souvenirs when I know how much gas for this trip is costing us, but I followed my husband’s wishes and we each picked out a shirt.
We picked up two pizzas at Wal-Mart and came back to our time share to heat them. They tasted wonderful. We all were starving. We did like our traditional family nights at home – pizza and movie night.
Travel Diary – Day Seven (March 11)
Today was another relaxing day. After breakfast my husband and two sons headed to the pool and hot tub for a couple hours. I spent a leisurely morning and finished reading a book that I started on this trip.
We spent the afternoon playing games and just hanging out together. I made a birthday cake for my oldest son. We only have a few more days in Florida so we decided to make his cake early so we have time to enjoy it before we leave. We also had his birthday meal since we will be packing up on the actual day.
We called it an early night since tomorrow we plan to spend the day at the Disney theme parks.
Travel Diary – Day Eight (March 12)
We awoke early so we could head to the Disney theme parks. Four years ago we were here and still had one day left on our four day pass. We had called in advance and the tickets were still supposed to be good.
We arrived at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) and praise God the tickets still worked. My guys had several things they wanted to see and do while we were there. We took in two shows and then hopped to Animal Kingdom. They did a roller coaster ride and I sat and journaled while I waited for them. Next we were off on a safari and trail hike. After completing that we hopped to Epcot. The guys took in a ride or two while I sat and rested and snacked. We had brought along all of our own food for while we were at Disney. We met up again and toured the countries of the world section. By then it was about 9 PM and we did our final hop to Magic Kingdom so we could see the fireworks. We were exhausted but still had to travel back to Hollywood Studios to pick up our car. We took the ferry boat and then caught a bus. By the time we arrived back at the time share it was just shortly before midnight. I was able to wish my oldest son happy birthday as he headed to bed just a minute after midnight.
Travel Diary – Day Eight (March 13)
My husband and I slept in until close to 9 AM. We got up and got ready and started packing things up as much as possible. Finally at 10:30 AM we woke the boys. They still were exhausted. We had a birthday breakfast of pancakes and eggs and continued to pack. After a quick lunch we headed out to the Orlando area. On our way there we picked up some grapefruit and honey tangerines. All of the groceries and souvenirs were covered under the $100 gift card we received. Praise God.
My son loves model railroading and had learned of a hobby shop that was about a half hour away. He wanted to spend his seventeenth birthday looking around at the shop. He found several things to purchase and had fun browsing.
We returned to the time share and the guys loaded up our van while I made a birthday supper. We played a game or two and then headed to bed early since we had to leave in the wee hours the next day.
Travel Diary – Day Eight (March 14)
After about three hours of sleep we arose so we could start our long drive home. We arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina around 11:45 AM. I was so excited that we were able to stop and visit the Proverbs 31 Ministry office. I would have loved to attend their She Speaks conference this summer but there is no possible way we can afford it, so this was the next best thing for me.
I was greeted so warmly by the P31 ladies. I was so blessed by getting to meet them, tour the office, talk a little and pray for them. Now as I pray for the ministry it is so much easier for me to picture it in my mind. They surprised me with a sweet card and a book. Thanks ladies. I truly felt treasured and special. I carried that joy with me the remaining eight and a half hours it took before we arrived home. (And after)
It was a wonderful trip for all of us. We weren’t ready to come home yet, but praise the Lord for all the good times we experienced. What a blessing!
P.S. Thanks Renee for teaching me how to post photos on my blog, and thanks Melissa for being willing to let us use your blog for the lesson! :)