Hello! I just returned home late last night after a week's vacation in the Springfield/Branson Missouri area visiting my husband's family. I have a week's worth of photos and stories to share, but I will do only one post per event to keep the posts from getting too long.
Most of you already know we live in Northwestern Wisconsin, so it was about a 12 hour drive for our family of five before we arrived at our destination. With three adults children crammed in the back of our Chevy Impala, and with my back, arthritic, and bladder issues, we stopped quite a bit to 'stretch' and 'pee'. We drove through three states to get there: Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri and it was not very scenic at all once we got out of Minnesota; very flat and boring. So we occupied our time with sleep, DVDs, books, and of course, great conversation. By the time we finally arrived in Springfield, we all very ready for a good night's sleep.
The next morning was Sunday, and it was Father's Day. We first went to a 'Mega Church' in Ozark, Missouri called "James River Assembly". It was quite the experience. My husband wanted to go there to meet the pastor John Lindell whom he had read about on-line and admired for standing for biblical morals in spite of political pressure. The church has about 9000 members...quite different from our less than 100 member church of our small community. Of course the facilities and worship was amazing, but what we appreciated more than anything was the sound biblical doctrine of the preaching. It is so rare today not only to see someone who has such great public speaking skills, but also uses scripture consistently throughout their sermon to support their message. And, the highlight of our visit was that even though the church has 9000 members, we still got to personally meet John Lindell and shake his hand and thank him for standing firm and not caving in to political correctness.
After the service it was time for a Father's Day lunch with my husband's family. They had chosen to all meet at one of those 'all you can eat buffets'. Now, my nuclear family doesn't go out to eat too much, but when we do, we prefer a quiet little restaurant that no one else knows about. Well, you can imagine the 'zoo' an all you can eat buffet was on Father's Day. My son has a lot of 'food issues' and was totally mortified by the 'herd of people' piling heaps of food onto their plates as if it was the last meal they'd ever eat in their life. And, at $15.99 per person, I can hardly blame them; after all, you want your money's worth. But, the noisy, crowded, messy atmosphere was definitely not us. Three or four hours later, as we pried ourselves from the table with our bellies full of prime rib and me experiencing some horrific gas pains, we said our 'goodbyes' and then went grocery shopping for our quiet picnic lunches we hoped to have the rest of the week. And that was the end of Day One.
The beginning of Day Two was spent at the Springfield Botanical Gardens. Now most of you already know I'm a flower lover, and I have my own vast flower gardens, so one of my favorite things to do on any vacation is to always tour the local botanical gardens. I've been to a lot of amazing botanical gardens in my life; the Chicago Botanical Gardens, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and my hometown favorites Boerner Botanical Gardens and the Mitchell Park Conservatory, to name a few. The Springfield Botanical Gardens is very small and very new in comparison to the above mentioned gardens, but it was still a lovely place to spend a beautiful morning and best of all, it was FREE. When your traveling with a family of five, FREE admission is always appreciated!
The first picture shows my husband and son in law playing on one of the children's sculptures in the garden. They had a nice playground and a screened in butterfly house for 'kids' of all ages.
Have a great day! Amy