So, unfortunately, we did not have such a great end to our long awaited vacation. First we canceled our fun in Pennsylvania (weather - rain, rain, storms, more storms and floods - not a great time to go to Cooks Forest). So we proceeded to our destination along Lake Erie, anxious for quiet relaxing in a beach chair watching the lake. Upon our arrival at the hotel it was obvious that if we had stayed at this hotel, it would NOT be quiet OR relaxing. The entire hotel was under renovation! The pool was closed, the outdoor deck was closed. And our special Lake view room was right by where they were jackhammering concrete on the pool deck. Needless to say, our decision to NOT stay at this hotel was a no brainer. Then we discovered that because of the season, there were no rooms available anywhere near to the lake. We made the decision to proceed home. We were not thrilled to add 5 more hours to our drive today, but we were happy to get home. Don't know what we are doing for the next couple of days, but it does not include going to work!
Today I was able to mark something off of one of my "must do" lists. I visited the state of New York. That's right. I had never been in New York state until today. I still have 13 states to visit and Ken has 7. But the list is getting shorter! As we entered the United States into New York, it felt great. When we saw a sign for Jamestown New York, Ken and I began to talk about his favorite grandparents, Les and Versal Baker. Grandpa Baker died in 1976 and Grandma Baker died years later. Their final resting place is in Jamestown.
This picture is from our wedding in 1974. This was the one and only visit I ever had with Grandpa Baker. I am so thankful, however, for the many visits I had with Grandma Baker in the years after Grandpa died.
I especially love this picture of Ken and I with Grandma Baker from 1976. I think it is special to me since this was the only visit Grandma Baker ever made to our house. I wrote to Grandma often (yes, this was the time of "snail mail" and I looked forward to her letters. I have many of her favorite recipes, written in her own handwriting, that I received enclosed in some of those letters. She truly loved Ken and believed that he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to. Yes, she was a special lady and I know that she had a large influence on Ken.
One of the best things thing about her frequent visits, was that she got to meet and enjoy Gwen and Doug. I remember that she told me over and over, how thankful she was that Ken and I had such a wonderful family. Gwen remembers her, but Doug does not. I believe that this was her last visit and Doug was 18 months old, Gwen was 4.
So, as I sit here, at home, in my favorite spot to blog, I can breath out and relax. I am sure that there is a very good reason that we are home right now. I may never know exactly what that reason is, but I know that there was some purpose in our trip being cut short. And I am especially thankful for the time that Ken and I had today to talk and remember his special grandparents. Really there is nothing better than times like this. I can't help but reflect on my own grandchildren when we are thinking about the influence that a grandma had! It is an encouragement to me to be purposeful in my times with Lia, Ellie, Zeke and Anna.
I had to include this picture of Grandma Baker and Gwen. How can you NOT just love this picture. I can feel the love when I look at this picture.
I think that is one of the things I am learning these days. There is a purpose in ALL things. Whether we are on vacation or at home, traveling or in at work, Jesus has a plan that will come to pass. Sometimes we can't see exactly what the big picture is, but there IS a big picture. So I know that we may have avoided an accident or other unfortunate event, because our plans changed. Or possibly it is something or someone that we will encounter here at home that is part of the plan. And the route we took home had a purpose. If only to remind Ken and I to talk about Grandma and Grandpa Baker it was worth it.
Jesus, thank you for orchestrating our vacation. Holy Spirit, continue to give us grace to roll with the changes, and to remember to think about the big picture. Thank you for reminding us to celebrate our past generations and giving us a nudge to pay it forward into our future generations. Jesus, thank you for your love and care in all things! And thank you for vacations away and especially thank you for home. Amen