Family life · memories · Refreshment · Vacation tips

The Grace Gift of a Family Vacation

Who doesn’t LOVE going to Pigeon Forge in the Smokey Mountains?! Last weekend we were blessed to gather there for a family vacation. After all the restrictions, I have truly rejoiced each time a planned event actually gets to happen! This time away was our 2020 Christmas gift to our children and their spouses, so we’ve been planning this for many months. What a precious time it was and how full our hearts are after four days and three nights together! This is hard, but I’m just going to share five highlights of the many fun moments we shared.

We opted to have all but one meal in our condo. We divided up the days and mealtimes and each contributed food for that meal. The first night we made it easy and brought pizza in since we had just checked in an hour before. I added a salad to round out the menu. Here is everyone (except my husband who’s taking the picture) at the table. We were a happy clan!

Whitney and I both have September birthdays, so we celebrated with a delicious Lemon-Raspberry Cake from Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, VA. How special to have the whole family there to celebrate with us! That in itself was a precious gift!

For a little added fun, we had a game competition that lasted the whole weekend. That was Whitney’s idea and it turned out to be a great plan! We played Sorry, Dutch Blitz, Spot it, Miniature Golf, Scrabble and Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. That last game is hilarious and great for a crowd!!!

I loved our game time because it kept us connected even at hours when we were really tired. Instead of scrolling on our phones, we were playing games, laughing ourselves silly, and pushing up our competitive sleeves to gain more points on the scoreboard! Whitney kept an ongoing tally of the winner and second place contestant of each game, and then awarded the first and second place champions on Monday morning. Who do you think won???? Keep reading!

it was really great that the condo has a putt-putt course on site. Beside it is a playground, and just up the way was the pool. It was all literally outside our door! Our little guys enjoyed all of those fun activities and the Lord was gracious to give us beautiful days in which to enjoy it all.

We had several special times in God’s Word and prayer as a family. How sweet to gather together to thank the Lord and also leave our burdens and requests. I’m so thankful for a family who loves Jesus. Equally special was seeing individuals open the Bible in their own little space and spend time with the Lord before our day began. Yes, my heart is full.

I’m not boasting and don’t desire to make you envious of our family time. It was truly a gift from the Lord and we praise Him for it. There are heartaches and burdens, needs and concerns in our family, just like in yours. How precious to be reminded even this week that as the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and told him that He saw his tears, our God hears us and sees our tears, too.

Whatever may be grieving your heart today, refresh your spirit by remembering that the Lord cares and is at work in your life. Cry to Him as Hezekiah did, then watch to see how He will comfort you.

I pray your weekend is refreshing as you fellowship with believers and worship our great God!

Oh, wait…the first place winner of our game competition was Alli, and anyone who knows our family will not be surprised at that! Second place was awarded to her equally competitive mother!

What are some ways you keep everyone connected during family times?

7 thoughts on “The Grace Gift of a Family Vacation

  1. I’ve heard Tennessee is a great place to visit. Maybe I’ll get there one day! Thank you for the encouragement to read Hezekiah’s prayer. 2021 has not been the best year. My husband and I were both hospitalized with COVID the week of our only daughter’s wedding. SO HARD! He’s still out of work dealing with lung issues from May. Just this weekend it was discovered I have gallstones and will probably need surgery. We have been unable to do anything we wanted this summer, and now fall is not looking so good. God has been faithful, but some days are hard.

    It’s also hard sometimes to read about the wonderful life others are being blessed with. So many blogs and pages only give the happy updates and pictures. Like maybe life really IS perfect for some . . . .

    God has sent encouragement and Scriptures my way to encourage my heart. Again, He is faithful!


    1. Oh, Stephanie, I’m so sorry you’ve had so much to deal with during this season. I will be praying for you and your husband to regain strength, to be comforted by the God of all comfort, and then to also see the good that He will ultimately bring as a result of these trials.

      I am sure you know this – there is no one with a perfect life. There are hard things behind each glossy picture that no one sees. We live in a fallen world, and there is sickness, sin and death in so many different ways. Satan loves to discourage us and make us believe that God has dealt an unfair blow to our us while others are celebrating special events, but there are so many unseen things present. We must remember that our God is always good, He is a present help, and He will give grace for each day of our life – whether it’s sunny or stormy.

      I pray that you will soon see the end of this trial, but in the meantime that God’s presence and comfort will overwhelm you. Isaiah 26:3 Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because He trusts in Thee.
      Sending prayers and hugs, my friend.


  2. What a blessing for you all! I love Blackbird Bakery. We had the strawberry cake for my son’s birthday and it was amazing! And Pigeon Forge is so relaxing. It may seem busy with all the attractions but when you purposely set time aside to relax and fellowship it truly is a beautiful place. The views are amazing!


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