Branson 2017

The Dixie Stampede

It had been almost 6 years since our last visit to Branson,  so we decided to head back to re-visit many of the places that made the last trip so enjoyable.  It was a very smooth flight and only took us a little over 4 hours.

After checking into the Stillwater Resort on Branson’s beautiful Table Rock Lake, we enjoyed an evening at the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction where we celebrated the American spirit. After a friendly North and South competition, we were brought to our feet singing the Star Spangled Banner and giving thanks to God in our hearts for the land that He has given us. Aside from the show, eating a four-course meal (complete with a whole mini-roasted chicken), all with our hands, was a highlight of the evening. So was the pre-dinner show by “Skeeter & Nugget”. We left there that night singing the words to the song “Long Black Train.” The chorus goes like this: “’Cause there’s victory in the Lord I say. Victory in the lord! Cling to the Father and His holy name, and don’t go riding on that long Black Train.” There’s wisdom in those words.

Silver Dollar City

Day two brought us to Silver Dollar City, an 1880’s theme park with action-packed rides, demonstrations from craftsmen like blacksmith’s and glass blowers, and good old-fashioned entertainment. Us girls braved the Outlaw Run which ranks in as #7 on the list of the World’s Top 50 Wood Coasters. The coaster soars over the Ozark Mountains, but I don’t think any of us paid much attention to the landscape. We were too busy screaming as we dropped 162 feet (more than 16 stories) at 81degrees, went upside down on a 720-foot double barrel roll, and reached top speeds of 68 mph. Some of the thrill rides we did twice, but that one…once was enough!

Runaway Mountain Coaster

After a good night’s sleep digesting Pizza World’s pizza pies, we made our way to Runaway Mountain Coaster for another exciting adventure. None of us knew what a mountain coaster was prior to our arrival, but we soon found out that it is a coaster that uses the lay of the land and changes in elevation to provide a ride around the natural features of an area. In this case, it was around the beautiful Ozarks. It was definitely a new experience for all of us. Each of us got into our own cart and was pulled to the top of a mountainous area by a chain. Once at the top, we got to pick our own thrill levels as we rode down to the bottom on tracks. Kory is the only one who didn’t use his brakes the entire ride down. We had no idea what a thrill-seeker he was! Well, actually, he said he was trying to impress us girls. We told him he already impresses us. Poor guy hurt his back as a result and was stiff for the next 24 hours. Would he do it again? He said he sure would.

Sight & Sound Theater

The afternoon brought us to one of the highlights of our trip, seeing “Moses” at Sight and Sound Theatre. This is the third live show we have seen (after Noah and Joseph), and Lord willing, we will go back to see Samson next year. The Bible comes to life in these shows, and we always leave with a meaningful message, and gratitude that Christ was honored.

On Sunday morning, we attended Friendly Baptist Church that we had visited six years prior. Although Millie, the 95-year-old banjo player, had passed away, we remembered her, and were grateful for the opportunity to worship with other believers outside of our state. The lyrics to one particular song stood out to us. They go like this: “Dig it shallow; dig it deep. It don’t matter much to me. That old grave’s just a hole in the ground.” Well, if you know Christ, those words ring true. That old grave is just a hole in the ground. There is no fear in death when you know you have life in Jesus Christ.

Table Rock Lake

After church, we spent the afternoon cruising around in a pontoon boat on Table Rock Lake. The weather was beautiful, but the water was a wee bit cold this time of year. Katey and Lauren braved the chilly waters and went tubing for a while, and then we spent the remainder of the day laying poolside where we were able to warm up and take some naps. We played dozens of games of Bananagrams in our hotel room throughout the week, enjoyed lots of laughs, and made great memories.

Our last day in Branson found the girls ziplining on over two-miles of zipline cables, soaring seventy feet above the ground. Lauren even rode upside down at one point, and Katey enjoyed the swinging rope bridges. Kory and I sat on rocks and thanked the Lord for the solid rock we stood on. Pun intended! We ended our stay with lunch at the Farmhouse restaurant, trying to convince ourselves that calories don’t count on vacation. Who are we kidding?

Dinner with the Danker Family

Just when you’d think our adventures were over, we ended the trip by flying to Chandler, Oklahoma, to visit the Danker family. What a treat it was to fellowship with them in their home and get to know their family better. Their faith in Jesus inspires us, and we see the fruit that the Lord is working out in their lives. We enjoyed dinner with them at a local Mexican restaurant.

Afterward, Mr. Danker was kind enough to give us the grand tour of his office at Buckventures. He loaded us up with souvenir deer antlers, a turkey call, and plenty of t-shirts and hats! We are so grateful for the fellowship we enjoyed and the generosity they showed us, thank you Danker Family!

The work of His hands

We departed a rainy Oklahoma in the early evening and just as we broke out of the clouds at 14,000 feet, we were awestruck by the majesty of God’s creation. Kory was able to capture this picture but as is usually the case, it doesn’t do justice to what we saw.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Psalm 19:1

Big Sandy Family Conference 2017

Big Sandy Family Conference 2017

We just returned from yet another uplifting and refreshing ATI Family Conference.  The theme of this year’s conference was Trust in the Lord.  Throughout the week, we heard messages that challenged us to put our trust in Him in all things (finances, purity, relationships, parenting,  etc.).  While each sermon was centered on trusting the Lord, every message was unique in the way the speaker conveyed trust, providing for an edifying conference. 

As usual, we were thrilled to reunite with old friends and meet many new ones.  One of my highlights, was when we sang the traditional closing song of “When We See Christ”.  Though some of us are but strangers to one another, a true spirit of unity permeates each heart as we sing that treasured hymn every year.  It reminds us that we are all in the fight together with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  I think of the verse in 1 Peter that reads: “But resist him [the devil], firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”   I suppose that bond of fellowshp is one of the many things that make our annual trip to the conference so special.

It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus. Life’s trials will seem so small, when we see Christ.  

One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race, til’ we see Christ!

 

Let us run the race together, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith”

-Katey, for the Nakatsus

When Trees Give You Lemons…

When Trees Give You Lemons…

make lemonade!! And might I add, the best lemonade you’ll ever try!  We’re so blessed to live around many citrus trees (orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangelo…).  While most of our trees produce oranges, we do have one lemon tree that yielded quite a crop this year.  Interestingly, Arizona is one of two states  that produce the most lemons.  The other is California.  Our favorite thing to do with fresh lemons is squeeze them and freeze the concentrate so that we (and other appreciative consumers) can enjoy the delicious lemonade year-round!

 

What fruits/veggies grow where you all live?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

– Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

Greer 2016

IMG_6389This is my first post so leave a reply if you would like! Two weeks ago, our family was blessed to be able to enjoy some time in the beautiful White Mountains of northern Arizona. We stayed in a little town called Greer that has only a couple of restaurants and one tiny grocery store, the Lazy Trout. When we think of Greer, we think of cool weather, incredible storms, and a pretty forest.
Prior to us heading to Greer, we actually had no plans of leaving town over the Labor Day weekend. However, after looking at my school schedule, and realizing that we had taken Labor Day off, we started brainstorming what we could do for the next three days. The thought of heading to Greer came to us instantly, so we prayed about this decision and thanked God for this sudden opportunity to get away for some family fun!
We packed our bags quickly while dad made a flight plan, and then we took off. We arrived at the Springerville airport 40 minutes later and were able to borrow a car, which happened to be an old police car! ☺ Had we driven, it would have taken us 4-1/2 hours!
Once we arrived at our little cabin (called Aspen), we unloaded our things and enjoyed wearing jackets outside ☺! Later, we were fortunate to be able to move to the vacant Willow cabin that overlooked a little meadow. It was so quaint and cozy. After putting our stuff away, we took a walk around the campsite and then walked across the street where we enjoyed the swings and teeter-totter. That night, we enjoyed dinner at Molly Butler’s Lodge!
The next day was our first and last full day in Greer, as it really was a short weekend. That day was filled with walking on trails, painting out in the meadow (which was nice, but the wind didn’t help!), and me getting some experience behind the wheel! ☺ We also enjoyed spending time in our cabin together.
The next morning, we departed for home with joyful hearts after a short, but wonderful stay in Greer!

“Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” – Psalm 96:12

Family Connections 2016

Family Connections, 2016

It’s always such a joy to be around like-minded friends.  Our family especially enjoys when the Family Connections team comes to town on their annual trip across the country to teach and encourage families.  This year’s conference was no different in that we each left strengthened and inspired by the heartfelt messages and much-needed fellowship.

I love the verse in 1 Peter 5 that says, “But resist him [the devil], firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”  We are not alone in our Christian walk and in our struggle against sin.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are unified in Him, which makes spending time among brothers and sisters in the faith one of the most exciting and beautiful things to experience.

To learn more about the Family Connections tour or to find out how to attend a Connections conference in your area, click here.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”

Psalm 133:1