I have deemed this year my year of big adventures.
My most favorite kind of adventure is the one that contains two words. ROAD TRIP! I reckon I’ve got a rather strong case of wanderlust at the moment, so I was super-excited to hear about this particular weekend plan.
Mama had purchased a couple of Groupon deals for some of us to go and see the Ave Maria Grotto, located up in Cullman, AL. We made our plans on a Friday night while we were coming home from a ball (more on that later), and left the next morning around 9:30. I was so excited to do all the driving…it added a lot to the adventure for me!
If you’re not familiar with the Ave Maria Grotto, they have a website that explains what it is here.
The miniatures are all absolutely incredible. Here are some of my favorites:
and of course, there is the special chipmunk crossing area.
After we walked through the grotto, it was time for lunch!
Which was root beer, potato chips and a sandwich (not pictured). Random fact about me: I *LOVE* root beer. Especially the A&W brand. 😀
When I went to the Ave Maria Grotto several years ago with my grandmother, we also visited the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament over in Hanceville, AL, as they are somewhat close in proximity and they are both sister-sites. I decided to take my group over to visit since we were already so close.
The castle on the grounds…. it’s a gift shop, but it looks pretty neat both inside and out.
They don’t allow photos inside the actual shrine at all, but I can share a funny story. We were walking around inside and just enjoying looking at the beautiful architecture, and we realized we had just walked up on a tour that was in progress. We all sort of looked at each other, and then decided to join the tour group. It was neat to get the back story on different things that were there, and we got to see a lot more than we would have been able to see otherwise, which was absolutely fantastic.
After all of that walking, we were pretty tuckered out. We knew we needed to be getting back so that we could help with church preparations, so homeward bound I headed. I noticed the fuel was starting to run a bit low, but thought there was plenty to make it back to our house. And then, I realized there was a Flying J right on the way home, so we probably should get some gasoline.
Josh teaching Jessica how to pump gas:
The real reason I picked the Flying J? The COFFEE.
I don’t have my frequent coffee drinker card for them for no reason. 😉 All 6 of us were able to get huge cups of coffee for a total of $8.00. Sweeeet. I love Flying J.
I proceeded to drive barefoot all the way home. It was pure bliss!
All in all, it was a fabulous day spent with some of my very favorite people. <3 I would have never dreamed how many new things the Lord would bring into my life throughout the past couple of months. I had been praying for some very specific direction over what it is I should be working on and pursuing, and also that the Lord would bring new opportunities for learning and growth as the days go by. Last year was a year of trying to stay above the water as we were being hit with many, many difficult circumstances, and many of them all at once. This year feels so very decidedly different. Every single day seems to bring something new! There have been some challenges to be sure, but in general, it has been a wonderful year of learning and adventures thus far. I can't wait to see what else the Lord does as He continues to show His hand at work. (more updates to come! I'm super behind! :P) ~Court