We left for Wyoming last Monday at 4:15 AM, picked up Ellen and Daniel a few hours later and settled in for a long trip. It went very well and Gabe was great! I was surprised, because Gabe's "travel happy clock" usually only lasts about 45 minutes.
As we crossed hundreds and hundreds...and hundreds more miles and only touched five states we couldn't help but think of how different the travel is in the eastern part of the country--distance and vistas (one of Keith's favorite words). There isn't much to break up the landscape of North Dakota so it only seems fitting that God gives them such beautiful sunrises and sunsets. We were able to see two of each in our combined trips to and from Powell.
I couldn't pass up this picture! How much more techie can you get? Driving through a veritable wilderness you have Dana texting and checking Facebook on two different devices at the same time! Now think about who's taking the picture and laugh again (yes, it's the driver; no, I wasn't "looking" at her--it was literally a 'shot in the dark').
We only stopped for gas and then got out to stretch at two meal stops at Subways along the way (some of the children really struggled with subs for 'brunch'). We also pulled over at the Wal Mart in Billings when we realized that Chet, Priscilla, and a carload were only a half mile ahead of us on the freeway and they were making the stop. Our reunion and fellowship began a few hours earlier than we anticipated.
We finally arrived at our home away from home, Dorm and Sharon Ann Lands', in Powell at 11:30 PM. This is our third stay with this wonderful couple and I can't imagine going west without stopping here. There were beds made and ready to accommodate 13! Not only are Dorm and Sharon Ann willing to open up their home for our gang when we visit, but last year they took in a family of ten whose home had burned down. The family was with them for six months, and by the time they left there were eleven. The Lands definitely inspire me to achieve greater levels of Christian hospitality!!
These are a few of the amAzing views (emphasis Dana's) from the Lands' home. (Thanks to Dana for grabbing my camera while she watched Gabe when I was decorating the hall.)
Mary Thomas, Priscilla's mom, hosted her family (seven children, five spouses (including one spouse-to-be), and seven grandchildren for Christmas a week before her daughter's wedding. Unbelievably, she invited all of them along with the bridesmaids and our family over for supper on Tuesday! What a blessing this family is to us. We are overjoyed to be united with them in Christ and now with the union of our children.
Don, Daniel, and Keith talking together.
Meanwhile, my single children were "chilling" (the word for the week--not sure how appropriate that was) with a football game and ice cream cone.
Well, not ALL of my singles. Miss Lisa was busy helping Mary serve the ice cream.
We later contained Gabe in the kitchen to eat his!
(Note: Mary Thomas also hosted a church group on Wednesday for Bible Study--just two days before her daughter's wedding. She was Super Woman to the extreme, and seemed so relaxed doing it. What an inspiration!)
Tuesday night was Priscilla's dry-run-hair-night and the women were in and out of her room to watch the 2-hour progression of the styling process. Marta did a wonderful job and I'm sure would have even without the practice run, but it was a fun time for all the girls to relax together.
Go to Part 2 New Year's Eve/Wedding Rehearsal.