|Photo: A silhouette of a bronze statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on horseback sits on a hill above the Mississippi River. The setting sun turns the sky red, yellow, and purple.
The Ten Things of Thankful blog hop is open from Friday to Tuesday each week, and here it is Tuesday and I'm just now writing my post. I don't usually like to leave things to the last minute, but I've been on a whirlwind of a vacation to Illinois and Missouri since October 5 and just got home last night. Future posts will go into more detail, but I wanted to share some of the many things I've been thankful for recently, before the sun sets on this link-up.
1. I'm thankful for an unexpected upgrade. While sitting in the airport waiting to board, I pulled my boarding pass up on my phone, only to notice my seat assignment was blinking, then changed. Without any request on our part, John and I had our seats upgraded! I imagine that a family needed to sit together, so we got bumped up to "Comfort Plus" seats. We certainly didn't mind the extra legroom.
2. I'm thankful for another unexpected upgrade. When we arrived at the car rental site, we were told we could select any car in a particular aisle. As we were considering our options, the attendant said, "You can take any of those cars, or I can give you what you really want." We didn't know what that was, but the Dodge Durango he offered was a roomier, comfortable ride.
3. I'm thankful for the technology that allowed us to hear General Conference during our travels. We caught the Saturday morning session on the plane, thanks to WiFi, and listened to the other sessions as we drove from town to town.
4. I'm thankful for the opportunity to visit church history sites. We drove up to the Nauvoo Visitor's Center just as the hymn, "Let Us All Press On" was being sung during General Conference. It was a touching coincidence, as I thought about how the early church members literally had to press on as they were driven out of Nauvoo and headed hundreds of miles west.
5. I'm thankful for the chance to visit family history sites. John has ancestors who lived in Nauvoo, and we were able to find the plot of land where their house had been.
|Photo: A neatly-mowed grassy lawn is punctuated with tall deciduous trees
|Photo: A tombstone reads: Martha Caroline Brockett Oct 2 1842 Feb 23 1919
7. I'm thankful to have toured literary history sites. We visited the boyhood home of Mark Twain, as well as the caves he explored, and the house where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House books.
|Photo: A white, two-story frame home with a green door is the boyhood home of Mark Twain.
|Photo: The white farmhouse of Laura Ingalls Wilder sits on a grassy hill with trees
|Photo: A statue of Dred Scott and his wife stands in front of the Old Courthouse
|Photo: Abraham Lincoln's two-story home, tan with green shutters, sits on a corner lot
9. I'm thankful for temples. The Nauvoo Temple and the Kansas City Temple were open while we were there, so we took the opportunity to worship inside. The St. Louis Temple was not open the day we were there, but we walked around the peaceful grounds.
|Photo: The Nauvoo temple, made of white limestone, shines against a deep blue sky at sunset
|Photo: A view of the Kansas City Temple from the front shows a spire with the Angel Moroni
11. Speaking of Silver Dollar City, I'm thankful that I was braver than I felt! I rode a scary wooden roller coaster. The video below that I found on YouTube apparently shows what it looks like when you are riding Outlaw Run. I wouldn't know, because my eyes were shut tightly the entire time. Plus, from personal experience I can say the ride feels LOTS longer than the few minutes the video says it is.
11. I'm thankful for blogging friends. Lisa gave me great tips on places to eat and visit, which really came in handy.
12. I'm thankful for blogging friends. I GOT TO MEET DYANNE! We've been friends since the beginning of the TToT, but had never met in person. John and I met her Friday night in our motel lobby. She came bearing gifts: a cake ("because Clark always talks about cake"); a book (The Shepherd of the Hills) which is the book that started Branson tourism; a Missouri Southern T-shirt, so we could be twinsies on Saturday; and some assorted candies. Wow! I wasn't expecting any of that, but it sure added to the party atmosphere. We talked for hours, and neither one of us could seem to process that we were actually meeting in person! We would talk and talk and talk, then suddenly just giggle in delight. We made plans to meet again the next day.
On Saturday, Dyanne graciously played tour guide, and we visited the beautiful Ozarks. We fed fish at the fish hatchery, touched the cold water of Table Rock Lake, walked some trails, visited The Landing, and met Dyanne's dad and husband at the lake house. All too soon the day was over. I hope Dyanne had as much fun as John and I did! THANK YOU, DYANNE!!!
|Photo: Dyanne and I laugh, while posing in front of the dam. We are wearing our matching T-shirts, but they are covered up by (not identical) grey sweatshirts. (The weather was a little cool in the morning, but was perfect!)
|Photo: Dyanne and I stand on the dock, while wearing matching Missouri Southern T-shirts
There are so many other things I could list, but I'd better call it at lucky number 13 for now, or I'll miss the blog hop.
What are you thankful for this week?
Joining the party this week:
The Prolific Pulse
A Season and a Time
The Wakefield Doctrine
Backsies is What There is Not