I’m back – with PICTURES!

On Friday I left my town with my father and younger sister to go to Calloway Gardens for the  Father-Daughter Retreat put on by Vision Forum every year. I’ve only been once before, three years ago. I was fourteen and looked like this –

And now I look like this –

Three years ago, I met my best  friend Hannah Tucker, as well as the AMAZING girls Keaghan, Cassie, Julia and Emily Rose. Hannah was at the retreat again this year, on our 3-year-friendship-anniversary, and brought a girl who became an instant friend – Abi Sitter! Hannah met her four years ago, and we found out something weird. She goes: So you have a blog?

Me: Yeah!

Abi: What’s it called?

Me: Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden.


We discovered that Abi had been following my blog since before she met Hannah – when I was still on BLOGSPOT! It’s a small world after all!!

She’ll be in a lot of the pictures, so I wil introduce you to us all –

Abi, Hannah, me, Dad’s arm

The room where we did everything except the tea =)

Father and three daughters – this man played the doctor in “Courageous” who informs Adam and his family that his daughter was killed in the car wreck. That nurse who hugged him? Yep – his real-life wife!

Some notes I doodled – Geoffrey Botkin did a talk called ‘Untangling Tangled’ (I did NOT want to hear my favorite animated movie get butchered. I did. But that’s okay, because I’d already dissected it for myself, and still love it).

‘ello! Bad hair day. Don’t ask. What a lousy day for my hair to revolt.

Finally, a picture with my dad! Isn’t he handsome?

The tea table! Isn’t it lovely? We had Darjeeling tea, scones, biscuits, tea cookies, cucumber sandwiches (surprisingly delicious), chocolates, little sponge-cakes that were SO Alice in Wonderland… it was delicious.

This lovely family sat across from us at the tea table – that beautiful girl in the middle who looks like Alice in Wonderland? I’m corresponding with her now; her name is Maggie, and next to her is her sister Hannah.

Beautiful twin girls and their father; the other family that sat with us at the tea.

After the tea, we changed and met up with the Sitters (Abi and her father) and the Tuckers (Hannah and her father) and went to the Calloway Gardens Horticultural Center!

Dad, trying to get a hold of Mom in the parking lot. He did. 🙂

Hello, it’s me again!

My little sister, looking lovely =)

EVERYTHING at Calloway is gorgeous. We weren’t even inside the Center yet!

Now we’re inside – look! A bunny! And a father!

A little children’s trail… down the rabbit hole!

Probably my favorite picture of the whole trip. I just love how it turned out. ^.^

L-R: Riah, Abi, me, Hannah


So they don’t exactly rival Babylon – but the hanging garden was pretty anyway =)

^_^ I love them.

God blessed us with a PERFECT day. Warm but not hot, breezy but not windy…

An indoor waterfall – BONUS POINTS because I heard a guy up behind the waterfall shout “No matter where you go, I WILL FIND YOU!” Last of the Mohicans FOR THE WIN!!! I wanted to find him and tell him how cool he was, but I didn’t catch what he looked like. Ah me.


More topiary-things; Chicks this time! (Easter, anyone?)

I love these girls!!

Dad and Mr. Sitter

Creepy coconut-head O_O

Abi’s and my feet – I like this picture, for some odd reason. We were swinging on the swing above. =)

I caught a lizard! Hannah’s hand is on the left, mine is on the right. =) I”m still adept at lizard-catching from my time in Florida, apparently. And here I thought I was getting rusty!

Koi fish! We were feeding them and having a ball.

Mr. Tucker enjoying himself =)

Hannah and her lovely expensive Cannon (I’m not jealous, I’m not jealous)

Fish: Don’t feed the humans!

I have frizzy hair, Hannah has sleek. ^.^

This was a modern art statue called ‘Peace,’ so we all stopped and, um, meditated. Doesn’t this just make you feel so peaceful? Really? Yes? *ahem*


I love this picture. There needs to be a T rex in the background.

Butterfly chrysalises! Chrysalis? Chrysali? Cuccoons.

The Butterfly House! Sadly, there weren’t many butterflies to be seen – the people outnumbered them.

But guess who I met and got my picture with in the gift shop?

Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin!  I didn’t used to like them, but I do now. They’ve developed a sense of humor, and I’m older and understand more of what they have to say. It was one of those “You Know You’re a Homeschooler When” moments – “You know you’re a homeschooler when you have to have your picture taken with the Botkin girls.”

There’s a beautiful little memorial chapel hidden back in a ways, and it’s beautiful. So peaceful and thought-provoking.


The view from outside the chapel…

IRISES! My best friend’s favorite flower, and one of my own favorites as well (next to roses).

I took this one because Riah went “Look! It’s the Loch Ness!” Even if it was a very SKINNY Loch Ness, my inner cryptozoologist had to take a picture.

This and the above picture were taken at the visitor/info center. There were turtles below the bridge; I counted seven of them at one point.

Here we are!

We left on Sunday amid good-byes and dozens of hugs shared all around. I had the most marvelous time, and I’ll expound more in other posts, but let me just say –

Dad, I had an amazing weekend and it really put me back on track. I love you SO much. Thank you for everything.

The view from the street opposite the Country Store, where we had lunch and bought some on-sale rubber rings and a David Arkenstone CD =)

They sold Tribbles at the store. TRIBBLES! I couldn’t purchase it because 1. It would eat all all our quatrotriticale and 2. There’s not enough room in the car.

FACEOFF! When the bond between sisters is tested! (And one of them decides to be sneaky and pull an extra gun on me)

Wanted: Dead or Alive

We found him!

I’m fond of this picture =) It was a gorgeous blue Harley in the parking lot.

And last but not least, a very adorable, goofy dog sitting inside a truck =)

I hope you enjoyed all the pictures, and got a glimpse of the amazing time we had in Calloway =) It was amazing for me spiritually, it really put me back on the right track. I’ll post about something I realized very soon. I also hope you appreciated all the pictures – this post took about 2 hours total because I had to upload, resize, crop, and re-upload. Just goes to show how much I love to you all *wink*

~ Mirriam


19 thoughts on “I’m back – with PICTURES!

    • Well, it’s not a conference – it’s a retreat with speakers. It’s awesome =) I’ll answer your letter ASAP!!! ^.^

  1. Love it all!! Hopefully next year my sister, Daddy and I can attend.

    I’d like to hear the jist of what he said during the Untaglibg Tangled, that sounds REALLY interesting!

  2. -untangling. Stupid spell check. *picard face palm*.

    Untaglibg isn’t even a pronounceable word…

    Oh, once I joined this online forum for star wars fangirls, and that had a thread going where we could post our blog links. I did so with Cheery-o, and there was a mini explosion.

    “you’re THAT Ashley?”. “no way! I love your blog!”. Apparently, 2-3 girls already knew of me. It was nice.

  3. 😀 PICTURES!!!! And FANTASTICAL FRIENDS AND SIBLINGS (who are also friends and will sell your secrets for the right price to a tarb or two who might possibly pay them) those were my favorite photos. *YAY* for a handsome Dad who believes in you and wants the best for you. *YAY* for sisters who are just a little bit more super than yourself (someone’s gotta smack your ego and tell you the truth 😉 ) *YAY* for old friends that feel like you could talk to them for eternity and not get bored (and for inside jokes and for spasms of breathless laughing and snorts and friends who forget that you snorted) and *YAY* for new friends that have that “new friend scent” and are full of delightful quirks and twists and tempered steel that you lack ::deep breath:: and *YAY* for gardens, butterflies, teaching, drawing closer to our Yeshua Christos and all that He is, so we can be all we are MEANT to be, in Him.


    Looks like you had a fun and life-altering retreat. What a blessing to grasp both at one go.

  4. Miriam!! Ah all these wonderful pictures!!!! THANK YOU! 😀 I am so glad you posted them so i can steal them and put them on my computer, sneaky laugh following 😉 I am so glad you had an amazing time with your sister Riha and your daddy. It was amazing to meet you and I plan on annoying you with lots of e-mails in the future!! God Bless you, you amazing chick ❤

    • ABI!!!!!!! Yes, but ONLY IF YOU SEND ME THE ONES YOU TOOK!!!! ^.^ I need them, I must have them preciousss!!!! I had an amazing time with you too – I can’t wait to see you AGAIN!!! Go ahead and annoy me – I don’t annoy easily. >:) God bless you too, you fantastic fish, you!!! I sent you an email right when I got home yesterday =D

  5. It looks like you had a grrreeat time, Mirriam! 🙂

    I’m curious – what did he say about Tangled? Was it positive? Or negative? *balls fist* 😀

    Oh, and tell Riah that I’m extremely jealous of her red hair.

    • Negative. *facepalm* I’ll post about it, don’t worry. =D I’ll be sure and tell her; she’ll be happy to know ^.^ And I DID! I had a great time!!!

    I loved seeing you SO MUCH – it’s been five months, you know. *whew!*
    I enjoyed every moment of it – even if you DID force evil things out of me. *glare*

    I! LOVE! YOU!
    – hannah

  7. 1) It looks like you had fun. 🙂
    2) Several girls and their fathers from my church went to that retreat; I wonder if you saw any of them.
    3) I think you can use the Canon Loyalty Program with certain DSLRs on top of promotion codes and sales, so at times (like until tomorrow), you can get some really good deals on Canon refurb stuff. 🙂 Just tell me if you’re ever interested in photography…
    4) You look different than you did when you were younger, and yet you still look quite a bit like you used to in some of these.
    5) I’m shutting up before I start rambling again.

    • C’mon, Max, you know I like your rambling =) =) I wonder if I DID see anybody you know there!! I’M INTERESTED IN CAMERAS! I AM!!!! ^.^

      • That’s good; I’m always afraid I’m a nuisance when I talk a lot.
        Ok, take a look and see if you see anything you like:
        Canon products I think you might be able to stack the Canon Loyalty Program (trade in an old Canon digital camera for up to 20% off) on top of discounts like that to save even more.

  8. You’ll REALLY have to forgive me, but the Boktins picking at Tangled just makes me mad. SURE it’s not perfect… but SERIOUSLY? Don’t they have better sermon material than to waste it on a Disney movie? Tangled isn’t going to wreck anyone’s life…
    …and I KNOW they ahve opinions, but every time I read their blog, I get this sense of ‘rudeness’ and ‘snobbish-ness’ as if they know just SO much… it’s like they teardown what EVERYONE loves on purpose just to ‘not care’… and I come away bawling until I physically hurt… cuz their standards are just ‘SO’ perfect that I want to give up on life, cuz if I have to be like that, I’ll never be like that. That’s not the way God made me, so why bother being like them?

    It’s so… hard taking them seriously,cuz they never show compassion. Nor do I agree with everything they say. Especially about guys. What am I supposed to do?

    Dad’s said himself that there’s only one guy he’d ever let me marry, and it’s a guy I wouldn’t marry. My dad’s not around anymore. And they act like the only RIGHT way to get married is if your dad is making the calls for you. My dad didn’t care about what I wanted. I was going to have to marry the guy HE wanted… what I wanted in a guy didn’t matter… at all…

    and now because I’m on my own, some of their advice isn’t practical… and now that Jo is showing ‘interest’ I’m not going to ‘shut him off’ because my dad’s not involved. What if Jo really IS who God has for me? I’m not going to say no because Dad refuses to be involved in anything we do… I’m not going to put my whole life on line… cuz one person messed up. Don’t they realize that things aren’t so ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ for everyone out there? That there’s girls out there in different circumstances who have to do things differently? It’s not that I hate my dad. I don’t. I love him. But he’s not saved. He doesn’t care. I’m not bitter, but they act like it’s a sin if you get married without having your dad holding your hand the whole time…
    …I just want to give up EVERY time I read their stuff…

    And it’s not fair to say that if a guy likes you and ‘watches’ you he’s as bad as Edward Cullen. Sarah caught JOSIAH watching me, and Josiah is NOT a pervert. He’s sweet and kind and fun. And he comes and asks me questions, and talks to me, but to say that because a guy watches you ISN’T to say he’s like Edward Cullen. that’s just radical…

    I’m not saying anything against you… just… yeah… I come away SO discouraged everytime I dable in their stuff. And it’s not fair… what they say. If I went with Josiah… it wouldn’t be the courtship they talk about. It wouldn’t dating either. Josiah is the kind of guy to do ‘family time’ and then one on one time. He’s the type to hold hands while he’s ‘dating’ his ‘girlfrind. But it’s not because he plays the dating game. Jo is faithful and serious about where he wants to go with a ‘relationship’… he’s the kind of guy to sit there and kiss you on the cheek if you’re his girlfriend…
    …and they’re NOT being fair to Josiah… Josiah isn’t impure. He *IS* … he’s just sweet and kind and amazing… and I’m so smitten with him.

    I just… what they have to say is so heartbreaking cuz it never works out the way they say it should… and they act like it should be JUST that way or it’s wrong…. a sin.

    I dunno. I’m sorry. They’re so discouraging… 😥

    • Oh, Pepper, I can totally understand how you feel. About the smaller things – Tangled, for instance, which I still love – and the bigger things, like guys. I know that a lot of girls have the same question – “How do I do all this without a dad? I don’t have one to guide me through this, what am I supposed to do?” And the cool thing? Even if your dad isn’t in on it, your Heavenly Father is. And He’s the one who counts the most. If Jo is as amazing as you say, then I hope God blesses you in ways you can’t imagine! I’m always praying for you, Pepper. I love you so much.

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