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?
Abi: What’s it called?
Me: Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden.
Abi: YOU’RE HER??
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*