Our Thanksgiving was an unusual one. We always leave town for this holiday to spend it with my extended family, including my 99 year old grandma. This year was no exception.
We started off in Nashville, a tradition we started a few years ago. We enjoyed spending some time at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Campground even though it rained almost the whole time we were there! We made the best of it and had a great time.
The campground had a beautiful display of Christmas lights set to music, and a huge tent set up with a small ferris wheel, bounce house, spider jump, and slide. Kettle corn, hot chocolate, funnel cakes, and other yummy treats completed the festivities.
We also went to Opryland Hotel to see all the beauty it holds inside and out...
This tree is HUGE and beautiful!!!
Look how pretty...
This year, Opryland had colorful sets displayed for movie characters...
Kung Fu Panda:
Puss in Boots:
Wednesday morning, we pulled out and headed to my grandma's in Southern Illinois. We set up at the campground there and waited for my parents and brother to arrive.
Since my grandma wasn't feeling well and turned in early, we went on to dinner to our favorite pizza place in the area. After a stop at Walmart, we headed back to the campground. That's when we hit the deer. It was really late and the deer seemed to come out of nowhere. The truck wasn't operable so we had to have it towed. Thankfully, my aunt graciously lent us her vehicle while we visited.
My grandma is on an emotional roller coaster and doesn't feel well most of the time. She has skin cancer on her face and a closing heart valve. She didn't come to Thanksgiving dinner, which is the first one she has ever missed. It was sad not having her there. I counted only 48 people at dinner (I might have missed a few), which is low (by almost half) compared to other years.
We did a little Black Friday shopping. There is a LifeWay Christian Store nearby that had some great deals. Jason dropped Emily and I off at the door. She went one way with part of my list and I went the other. We were in and out of the store in 13 minutes! We went for breakfast at Cracker Barrel and went to a couple more stores before heading over to my grandma's. She was feeling much better and wanted us to come over for a Thanksgiving meal on Friday. She and my aunt had cooked a turkey on Thursday and we all made the side dishes. It was a fantastic day! I felt so blessed.
This is my grandma with our kids and my brother's kids:
Since the truck would not be fixed before we had to go home, we left it and the camper, there. I'm so thankful to have so many generous family members who offered and was able to help. My cousin's husband towed our camper to their house, where it stayed for two weeks. And my parents let us drive their car home (they towed it behind their motor home) and keep it until we got the truck back.
We drove back to Illinois this past weekend and got the truck and camper. It was nice to visit with family again, even though it was just for a short time.
Interestingly, on the way there, we were directed to detour around the highway due to an undetermined amount of cattle loose on the road! At least five of them were hit by vehicles, but thankfully, only one person was treated with minor injuries. While travelling that stretch of the highway on our journey back, we saw blood stains all over the road. I later found read that it was black Angus and it was dark when some were hit. You think a deer is hard to see on the road at night, imagine a black cow! It was crazy.
Sadly, when we returned home, I received a message from my cousin informing me that my aunt had just passed away. In addition, a mom in our former co-op had a massive heart attack and is in ICU, not expected to recover.
This has been a very trying season for our family but I'm thankful that the Lord continues to comfort and bless us with His word, family, friends, and bits of enjoyment sprinkled in here and there.