Tag Archives: family reunions

The Great Smoky Mountains

This past weekend my family and I ventured down to Tennessee for record-breaking short, fun-filled family reunion in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We stayed in Gatlinburg–a charming but busy tourist town full of souvenir shops and pancake diners (we enjoyed Flapjacks Monday morning!) It is no wonder that Gatlinburg is so popular as it sits right on the entrance to the park.

We filled our weekend with the beauty of the area…scenic drives in the mossy forests full of dense greens and streams of water; the mountain overlook areas; the ancient Cherokee history and the Trail of Tears; pre-Civil War life and the dedication of the National Park by President Franklin Roosevelt. (I found the history of the area, especially Cades Cove to be fascinating!)

Of course no family reunion is complete without lots of pictures, games, laughs, family meals (yes, pizza at 10 pm! and my aunt’s scrumptious lasagna), fresh coffee, good conversations, helping hands, and love.

“Family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” –George Santayana
I quite agree.

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Marcia and I standing by the “Thousand Tears” waterfall.

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Me and Grandpa ❤

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Thanksgiving Lessons 101

This Thanksgiving was a very special time. We celebrated my Grandpa’s M.’s 90th birthday with a surprise family reunion. And he was surprised!!! 🙂 What a great time it was to have the family here. I just don’t think it could have been any better!! Dinners ran buffet style through the kitchen; we somehow got all of us to fit together in the same dining room area/hallway so we could all eat together; we enjoyed chatting, pictures, playing games with the kids; and most of all, we enjoyed the precious time spent with Grandpa and Grandma. 🙂

Grandpa has taught me so much over the past years, but these are my top favorites: Don’t put your elbows on the table and collecting coins is a cool thing. Grandma taught me that it is okay to eat dessert first (you only have one life to live) and writing letters brightens the day. And together they taught me the most important lessons of life: Give and you receive, trust God in all circumstances, and to honor the ones you love as you honor God by doing so. Grandpa and Grandma have been married for 66 years. And they still love each other, care for each other. It is such a testimony. I have been blessed with not one set of grandparents, but three who all have shown me the same lessons of faith and love in their own special ways. Each give me a glimpse of something in my life that I can improve on. During the family reunion, Grandpa yet again showed me a life lesson, but this time I don’t think he realized it.

I must say it was refreshing to not be the only one with hearing aids. I actually had some good conversations about hearing aids with my uncle. It was fun for someone to “understand.” But Grandpa showed me a different way to understand the communication problems that come with lack of hearing. The first night we all were together–after the “SURPRISE!!!”–things were still on the energetic level and it was loud. I could not hear anything but the constant vibe of the family chatting and laughing murmur in my ears. That might be hard to understand, but it is hard to explain. Anyway, after giving my hello and hugs, I went over to sit by Grandpa. I can’t speak for him, but I wonder if the murmur was the same for him–either that or it was just still complete shock that we all were there. 😀 We exchanged a few sentences, then just sat quiet. I noticed as he looked around the room that he was just all smiles. He was not even engaging in any conversations, but still had joy in his face just as if he were chatting with someone right next to him.

I did pretty well at Thanksgiving. I had my hard moments with hearing but for the most part I did well, just hopping from one conversation to the next. It was last night when my frustrations reached a peak. After the extended family left, we decided to play Mexican Train (dominoes game). I got the rules down and we started to play. Then things started changing like “you have to cover the double” and then I said, “I don’t want to cover the double, I want to play here.” That kind of started it. By the next few rounds I had one question about the trains and doubles that I was trying to get an answer for, and everyone was telling me answers at the same time. Finally, after much frustration, we got it quiet and my brother-in-law restated why we had to put the trains down if we can’t cover the double and it clicked. I finally got it.

I am not blaming my family…they are not at fault (although we should work on the talking at the same time part). I could have not raised my voice in frustration of not understanding but because often in loud conversations I can’t get my voice heard, I get so used to shouting louder than I should just to be heard. I have always have had that problem. I just want to be heard. But Grandpa’s approach was the complete opposite. He does not shout to be heard, but when he speaks it is sincere and it is heard. So as the family left this morning I reflected on the past few days and how I see myself every time in these situations. I speak loudly before I try to lip read (which is my version of listening); I get angry when I cannot be heard and frustrated when I cannot hear or understand or know what is going on. It is a constant battle, but it is not for Grandpa. He showed me that you can live out James 1:19 and still enjoy life as if I had regular hearing.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

I have tried so hard to live out this verse, but I think it is now time for a new course of action: Be more like Grandpa, because Grandpa is an example of Christ’s love and humility. So thank you Grandpa for the lesson you taught me while you were enjoying your birthday festivities. I love you so much. 🙂

More to come…

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times