Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Break 2013 - Myrtle Beach

After spending a few months trying to book a time share in Gatlinburg for our 2013 Spring Break trip with our granddaughters, I finally had to look for other options.  Myrtle Beach had an opening, and we grabbed it!  This was our third trip to Myrtle Beach, but the first time to take the girls.  It was a longer trip than we would have liked, mileage wise, but it worked out okay.  We met our son and granddaughters in Louisville, KY, where we spent the night, and then as he headed back home, we headed to the ocean...a 12 hour trip, allowing for stops.  

I had requested an ocean front room, since we had not had one on our previous two trips to Myrtle Beach, and we were not to be disappointed!!  We were on the 12th floor overlooking the ocean side pools and had a beautiful view of the ocean.  We could open the patio doors and enjoy the sound of the ocean waves and see the activity on the beach.  

There is so much to see and do in Myrtle Beach, even in the "off season"...which we were there the week ahead of regular spring break season...that we had to make a schedule of all that we hoped to do while we were there.  We almost got it all in, but the girls let us know that if we didn't do anything but get to the swimming pool and the ocean front, they would be happy.  Every day we took time to do just that, even though some of the days were a little cooler.  The pools were heated to a constant 85 degrees, so they were comfortable no matter what.  At the ocean front, we sometimes just braved it.

One of the things the girls like to do most was jump the ocean waves and get splashed.

Grandpa preferred the luxury of relaxing at the room most of the time, rather than joining us at the ocean or pool.  We were on the 12th floor of the building behind him.

Sunrises and sunsets were very picturesque.

Here are the girls dressed up for church, standing out on our balcony.  We spent Sunday afternoon at the resort, and then Sunday night we went bowling...something different we had not done before.

The girls chose to go to the pool behind our resort that had the zero entry and water sprays.  They had a lot of fun together, as you will see in the pictures below, and Sunshine was able to teach Princess to swim under water with her eyes open.  I do believe going to the pool was Princess's number one favorite thing to do all week.  It was a good thing the pool was heated!!  Our last day at the pool they played water volley ball with some other kids.


We went shopping almost every day, as there were so many cool places to shop....and we didn't even go to the indoor malls!!  We went to Broadway at the Beach, a shopping and entertainment mecca; Barefoot Landing, with lots of cool shops and tigers on display in cages; and Prime Outlets, where we got our best bargains.  Weary from shopping, we did go miniature golfing one afternoon.  You can see the ocean in the top picture, if you look closely, between the turquoise dome and the tall building.  This was a very challenging course!  They have maybe over 50 miniature golf courses in Myrtle Beach.

We went to Wonderworks at Broadway at the Beach.  It looks like an upside down house, but it's an entertainment complex with many things to do inside.  That's Sunshine at the railing.  She liked to take pictures of the ducks and birds and fish.  Broadway at the Beach, as well as Barefoot Landing, are both shopping meccas built around water, and you could cross over the water on boardwalks to more shops.  There was also several amusement rides for the younger children, and Princess rode a few of those.

Here are some of the pictures Sunshine took of the birds, fish, and ducks.

One night we dressed up and went to a musical show at Alabama Theater.  It was voted the number one show to see in Myrtle Beach, and there were many to choose from.  They presented music from across the decades and genres of music.  It was a long show, but all of us thoroughly enjoyed it!

On our trip back home, we divided it up a little instead of traveling one long day back to Louisville.  We stopped in Asheville, NC for the night.  The next day we drove on to Louisville, where we once again met our son to pick up the girls to take them back home.  After a wonderful week at the ocean front, they went back to a record snowfall and had a snow day from school!  Our spring break week at Myrtle Beach was all that we had hoped it would be, and all four of us want to go back some day.  It's hard to capture fun in pictures, and we had plenty of it!!!  It is always a very special treat for us to be able to have our granddaughters with us.  We are so grateful their parents allow us these times of making memories.  If you are a grandparent, you know what I mean!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

7 - My Story, God's Story - My First Marriage

March was a busy month for me.  We took a week's vacation in the middle of the month and took our two granddaughters down to Myrtle Beach during their spring break.  What a great time we had!! I'm sure I will do a post with pictures sometime soon.  For now I think I better get on another post of my life story before much more time gets away from me.

After I moved back to Michigan from Florida, I was able to get a job in a Savings and Loan institution, where my father often got loans for the houses he built.  It was a small bank, only four employees, including me.  I was the Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, and basically did teller work.  This was in the early 70's and when we moved from posting machines to computers, I was the one that was selected to train new employees as we grew.  I guess being the youngest one there (the others were old enough to be my parents), I had a mind that picked up on the new electronics.  How amusing that is to me today, as I have a hard time keeping up in the technical world...just ask my husband, or my sons, or my granddaughter!!

I liked my job, and Larry got back into church, and things were going pretty smoothly for us.  When he asked me to marry him, it seemed like the right thing to do.  He was going to be a youth pastor, and we were both very involved at church.  He had a lot of charisma, and the people in church liked him.  We got married in August of 1971, large wedding, rainbow colors, everything went beautifully.  We honeymooned in the Smokies and Chattanooga, TN.  (Little did I know I would one day live in that area!).

Larry and my father built our house on a one acre lot in one of my father's subdivisions.  We were both working, and I thought everything was going well.  A little after our two year anniversary Larry started acting aloof.  Then he started to convince me that he was not the right husband for me.  It didn't take long to figure out he was involved outside the marriage.  Within two months he wanted out, was going to get a divorce so I wouldn't have to.  He had the philosophy that "variety is the spice of life".  He had started drinking again, but I knew I had married for life, and even if I had to raise children in an alcoholic home, that was the choice I had made.  However, I did not have the final choice.  He took what he wanted from our material goods, left the house in my name, and he was out of there.  I told him if he left that he should never come back again.  I had taken him back way too many times, and this was the final straw.

He left.  As the door shut behind him, I crumbled on the floor in tears.  I took the Bible from the stand near by and asked God if He rejected me also, since I knew He didn't like divorce.  He led me to read Galatians 5:13, and I paraphrase:  "Carol, I have called you unto freedom.  Only do not use this freedom to please the flesh.  Rather, serve others with love."  In that moment, a miracle occurred.  The love I had felt for Larry totally dissolved and a brand new love for my heavenly Father filled my heart and soul.  I knew He cared for me deeply...He cared enough to relieve me of a marital mess, and set me free from it.  I didn't know what all the rest of the verse meant at that time...except to be careful in my future relationships, to keep them pure.

Shortly after that life changing experience, I found out that I was pregnant as I miscarried at home, alone.  Again, God sparing me from more heartache, I just accepted His will, His way, His love.  I felt so free, so clean, so full of life.  Even my co-workers commented that I was happier than they had ever seen me...that I was fun to be with.  I loved my job, I loved my church responsibilities, I was looking for where God wanted to lead me next.  I felt like I should sell my house and perhaps go back to college and get a business degree, perhaps working in the business office, or being a dorm mother.  So that became my plan.  Meanwhile, both of my parents ended up with cancer at the same time.  My house sold, but I moved back home with them to be their care taker, while I continued to work at the savings and loan.

There wasn't anyone my age at one for me to hang around with.  There were the teenagers, and there were the young married couples with small children.  So I chose to hang around with the teenagers.  Our church had a softball team in a church league, and we would go out to watch the games.  There was one guy on an opposing team that was not only a great ballplayer, but very attractive to me.  I compared him to a cross between Tony Orlando (music world) and Mark Spitz (sports world)...very good looking, very well built.  So I started going out to all the ballgames just to watch him.  I noticed there was never any girlfriend waiting for him.  It was the last game of the season and I knew I wouldn't see him again, so as I drove out of the park, he happened to ride by me on his bike.  I said to him, "Nice game!"  I had a girlfriend with me who yelled out, "Carol!  I can't believe you finally talked to him!"  I was so embarrassed that I spun my tires to get out of there, and he never even saw who I was.  He just remembers the tires spitting gravel as I left.

Thus begins my introduction to Paul...the man who was to become my second husband (and last!).  That's another story.