There is so much we want to do and so many people we want to see and believe it or not 12 days may not be enough...but that is all that we have so we are making the most of it!
The first half of the trip was spent in the Oklahoma City area. I, of course, grew up in the city, so driving down all the familiar roads and highways brought back a lot of memories. We were able to go back to my home church, Midwest City Community Church of the Nazarene. I was asked to sing a couple of songs...and of course I was willing! It was great to see so many old friends. But I think the word 'friends' is a big understatement. As I was scanning the congregation, my mind was flooded with memories of these people who believed in me from day one. My heart was overwhelmed with feelings and reflections of these people who encouraged, support, prodded, guided and extended grace to me! I am forever indebted to this congregation and forever grateful to the Lord for leading us to this place.
In addition to our church family reunion, there was a mini Gage family reunion...with some of our extended family. Since I was raised as an only child, I am "blessed" to have many cousins, auntie's, uncle's, great auntie's & uncle's...you get the point. So we had a family day which was tons of fun and loaded with laughter. It is always fun to reminisce with my cousin because we are so close in age and we shared so many summer adventures. It is great to see how our own families are growing and shaping. Though we wish we could see each other more, it is nice to know we can stay connected through our technologies!
We were able to return to our Alma Mater, Southern Nazarene University to look around and maybe see some former professors. We were in luck as we ran into Dr. Reighard, my piano professor, friend, and all around funny man! We were in stitches, cracking up and sharing stories. Before we knew it, we had spent an hour and a half in his office...and that was our first stop on the visit. Needless to say, the tour was cut a little short! lol
The second half of the trip was spent in the rolling plains of Thomas Oklahoma. It is amazing to me how fast you forget the simple living of small town America. In fact, as I was walking one morning, I heard these ladies chatting about their day. When lady A was asked what was on her agenda, she replied "Nothin' really...just goin make jelly! That's enough" Then, of course, that started my obsession with Sandplum Jelly! Have you had it yet? Our son was in heaven in Thomas. The grandparents bought him one of those kiddie pools that we all had growing up! He even got creative and put the Little Tikes Plastic slide in there, as his own personal water slide. I cannot even count the number of hours he spent in that pool.
Another highlight of the trip came a random idea. Ashley I realized that we were not going to see everyone we wanted to see while we were in Oklahoma. So we planned a "Lunch with the Gages". So we placed the announcement on Facebook...thinking that we would have a few people join us. Well, we almost shut the place down with people. Okay, maybe I am stretching it a little but we were not planning to have over 30 people. It was so great to see so many faces. Many of them we have not seen since our wedding. So there was 7 years of catching up to do. In that moment, I was reminded of how God truly blesses your life with friendship and love. Our hearts were full that day...and our stomachs!
It is always great to return to the places where you began! The past provides a unique opportunity to praise the Lord for those moments in your life. At the same time, it provides you that same opportunity of praise for the plans He has for your future. I am extremely humbled and grateful for this time we shared. There are so many more stories to share, but I don't want bog down the blogging world. The finale of this series will be from the prospective of our son, Keller! You don't want to miss it!