Blake Thompson daht Net

Like I was saying....

Category: Travel (page 1 of 4)

Beach Bullets

Well I’m back from the beach. We had some friends who were going to Destin, FL for a week. They were persistant with the invitations to join them. We finally gave in. And we’re glad we did. They have three kids same nearly same ages as ours, and they loved playing together.

I’d blogged pretty much every day of May until the trip. And then I only did it once from the beach. Sorry.But I did have some random thoughts while at the beach. So here come the bullets:

  • There is no “quick” or “direct” way to get to Destin, FL from Oxford, MS.
  • Generally the hotel pools in Alabama don’t open until after Memorial Day. We left at night to head down and stopped in Montgomery, AL for a pit stop. Pool was locked up.
  • Staying in a condo with six kids ages 8 and under is sometimes wild.
  • You don’t need sugar to stir up that many kids, but it does add excitement.
  • I was a little curious as to how the weather would be. It was cold/rainy in Oxford the day before we left. But it was mid 80’s pretty much the whole time.
  • It didn’t rain a drop on us until the final day.
  • If you go to a restaurant with lots and lots of alligators outside in a pond and has handwritten Sharpie graffiti all over it, you can expect to pay about $20 for a bowl of pasta and 8 pieces of shrimp.
  • I brought more shoes on this vacation than I ever had, but wore only one pair the entire time.
  • That means I never went for a run on this trip.
  • Shuffleboard isn’t just for old folks. It was actually kind of fun.
  • I never saw or smelled any oil in the water.
  • The waves were really strong. Which means really fun. Good for making memories.
  • Outlet Mall” really means “yes, we have a few killer deals, but most things are just about 10-15% off, which you would have paid in taxes anyway. But we know vacationers are just looking for reasons to spend money, so we put a lot of your favorite stores together so you can give us your money.”
  • People that decorate beach condos really like floral print for furniture, wallpaper, and bedding. I mean REALLY like floral print.
  • The adults in my family need road-trip potty breaks more than the kids do.
  • Anything on the lower pantry shelves or in the fridge in the condo is fair game for kids to grab.
  • Seaside has gotten a little more crowded and busy since my honeymoon. But I’d still lik estay there again someday. Maybe Rosemary Beach could be a possibility too.
  • Every condo should provide wifi these days. Just saying…
  • Having an iPhone on vacation is really, really helpful.
  • I actually found an iPhone, but called the people and gave it back. My oldest daughter was disappointed.
  • I always bring books and magazines to read at the beach. But never read them.
  • My kids can’t get enough of the pool. They’d go to the pool at 6 a.m. if they could.

Greenville, SC :: Day Two

The time change isnt’ a big deal when you don’t change your watch at first. But I guess I should now.

We went back downtown today for lunch today to meet with an Orchard student that goes to Furman. Ate at Sticky Fingers. That is an aptly named restaurant. But then we went to the Discover Class. It is structured for people wanting more info on Grace Church. It was a two hour meeting. But was interesting.During this meeting there was the Saturday night service going on in the next building.

downtown-greenvilleAfterward we got to go to the “debrief” meeting with the pastors after their service. Then a trip to supper with the teaching pastor and worship pastor. Both were really down to earth. Easy to talk with. Funny. But pretty straight on as far as talking Biblical stuff too.

Tomorrow will be a full day. Probably three or four church services. Might even squeeze in a service with Newspring Church too that recently opened up a Greenville campus.

The downtown area of Greenville is interesting. It was revitalized a few years ago, but is full of shops, restaurants, parks, plazas, and landscaping. Lots of unique lighting at night too. There is even a “Mice on Main” scavenger hunt.

Boarding Schools?

I’m reading a book right now that is centered around an elite boarding school in the Northeast. From my knowledge (that is all from pop culture) it seems stereotypical. Mostly wealthy kids. Lots of sweaters, khaki pants/skirts, uniforms, lots of sports that are different from the South (squash, crew, field hockey, lacrosse, etc.), rebellion, lots of drama, old buildings with lots of wood and cool architecture,and good story lines for movies.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have ever liked going to a boarding school. I mean, if money were no issue. Some of these boarding schools have tuition for one year that probably rivals what my 4.5 years of college cost.  Part of it seems really cool. In some ways almost like going away to college as a 9th grader. I mean, think of some of the movies. Dead Poets Society, Toy Solidiers, School Ties, Rushmore, The Emporor’s Club, X Men, Harry Potter, Taps. And books like Jane Eyre, A Catcher In The Rye, and A Separate Peace.

Would I have enjoyed that? I know it would have been completely different from anything like Amory High School. I think I could have gone one of two directions (at least). But I could have been the guy who ended up being very quiet and just tried to take everything in, or I could have been the one who everyone knew because he talked too much a lot. It seems that there’s various moral pathways to choose too. Lots of opportunities for “new” experiences. Part of me looks back and thinks I would have really enjoyed the experience of being away and on my own like that.

But then I think to my own kids. What if they wanted to and somehow had an opportunity to go? Would I want my 14 year old daughter or son moving out of my home to live at least a day’s drive away for a semester at a time? Would I be willing to give away the responsibility of continuing to shape them and mature them in our own family ideals and beliefs? Give it away to strangers? That’s a heavy question. One I’m sure my wife would say “Heck no!”.

I’d say I think that I could handle going away to a school like that, but not sure I’d want my own kids to handle it. Plus, as a parent, I’d be giving up some fantastic years of sharing life together (even though I’d miss out on a lot of the teen drama.) And them sharing life w/ each other too.

So…if you’ve read this far: Would you have gone to a full time boarding school if you could? AND Would you consider sending your own children if they could attend?

Tell me here.

The Day Is [Nearly] Done:

Well after finally getting into the room and cranking the AC up, I caught up on some email, took a shower to wash the air travel off of me, and took a nap. I had a headache. My alarm went off and I got up read to go to the Journey Bible Class at Granger. The headache was still there. And all I’d had to eat for the day was a muffin at 4:30am and cheese & crackers with Reese’s Pbutter cups at the airport. But I found some popcorn in the lobby as I left.

Without any wheels yet, I walked to the church. It is only a half mile. I kept looking for a BIG church building I’d see from a distance. But I didn’t. Which was cool. But the parking lot was filling and people were all filing in towards the front door. As I got there, immediately on my right was Connection Cafe, a little coffee bar and then some seating on the right as well. A nice lady w/ a nametag was saying to everyone at once, “I know it doesn’t look normal, but adults are taking the kids to their rooms!” I don’t think I looked lost, but anyway.

There were lots of people w/o being crowded.

I went to Bob Laurent‘s class he was teaching. It was on The Radical Jesus [I’ll post the notes in the next entry]. At first I didn’t clue into who Bob Laurent is. But he spoke at a youth weekend I was a part of back in 1990. I liked him a lot back then, and 18 years later I still liked his teaching. He’s pretty passionate. And there were LOTS of people there. Bob said 900. And I think with a big shift in what Granger’s mid week events used to be, that’s a pretty significant number.

But first impressions of Granger Community Church was A+. Now I can’t wait for Innovate tomorrow. I’m back in the hotel after stopping by Target for some toiletries and by Moe’s for some supper! Now I’m full and typing while watching John and Kate plus 8.

Well, I made it to Mishawaka

I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel. I can’t get in just yet. The guy behind the counter says he sees the rooms blocked out for us, but can’t view the individual reservations. Merissa who made the reservations isn’t here yet, but I called her and she won’t have any different info for him because she doesn’t have the confirmation number. So, I’m sitting in the lobby. Wondering if I should try to walk over to Notre Dame vs paying $12 for a taxi ride there.

Granger Community Church is just about a half mile down the road, so I could walk down there and check it out. There are actually some going on tonight. I might give one of those a go to check out some of the changes that GCC is undergoing. Or I might go to bed early since I probably got 3 hours of sleep and have been on planes or rushing to them all day.

I got up at 4. Showered. Ate a muffin. Left for Tupelo. Flew to Memphis for a 37 minute layover. That means I rushed around to my next gate. Then I flew to Detroit. There I had another 37 minute layover. Interesting. But then I flew to South Bend and got a taxi to this hotel. So I could use some time on a bed infront of ESPN or something like that. And you can’t beat this wifi either.

But I know I won’t do that. I’m travelling, baby! Can’t be still for too long.

OH, and if things look different now and then, it’s because I’m trying out some new themes around the ole blog.

Edit: A 3:45 I got into my room

Innovate Oh Ate! Here I come!

I’m pumped.

Next week I’m heading out to Indiana. I’ll fly into South Bend and then hitch a ride over to Granger, IN. I’ll be attending the Innovate 08 conference at Granger Community Church.

I had a friend that went last year and raved about it. And I read a few blogs of folks who had attended, and they said it was exceptional. My friend actually said, “It’s better than anything I’ve been to at Northpoint…” Those were some big words there.

So what am I looking forward to?

  • I’m looking forward to hearing Mark Beeson teach. He’s a gifted communicator and has pushed his church in so many creative ways. [I still find it interesting that he’s in a very “innovative” church, yet still preaches with a coat and tie each week. But hey, seems to be working for him!]
  • I’m looking forward to hearing Shawn Wood talk of their creative process of finding the sweet spot of who God created his church to be and who they are not. That way they are not trying to be a huge buffet of ministries, but being dang good at what they’re created to do.
  • Getting to hear Tim Stevens speak about recognizing and using culture to communicate the life changing truths of Jesus.
  • Maybe meeting Kem Meyer and Tim Stevens both.
  • Attending the Granger Film Festival where churches bring their best vids from the last year or so for a competition.
  • Hearing Rob Wegner speak his heart about missions and how to impact the local community for The Kingdom.
  • To be able to hear Kathy Guy speak on the small group strategies of GCC and how it makes a difference in their people. Might even get to grab lunch w/ her at some point.
  • Steven Furtick will tell the stories of how his church has had a wild growth as it’s barely 2 years old. And the struggles and processes they’ve gone trough. And I want to see his weird hair in person.
  • Plus, I hope to be able to walk around the campus of Notre Dame while I’m there too.
  • And there will be some good companions from The Orchard in Tupelo to be with.

I will have frequent updates and maybe some pics/video of stuff while I’m there. I’ll “take you along” so to speak.

Labor Day Weekend

This year, not much happened. MSU lost a football game, church happened. Fantasy Football drafts. And my wife getting attacked by some dogs [she’s okay though]. Lots of new folks in town too because of Gustav down south.

But last year this time I was on a plane. I was flying home from Washington D.C. after a great little get away to the nation’s capital. It was almost an impromptu vacation. But after having tasted and seen how much I liked being there, I want to go back for sure. Was able to connect w/ David Russell while there, but beating myself up that I forgot that a good friend from back home now works there too as an architect.

Anyway, if you ever get the chance to visit The District…do it! It is steeped in US History. Lots of cool things to experience. Most of it free. And you can walk pretty much everywhere. After spending four days there last year, I consider myself an expert.

Here are a few pics from last year. I have many more I’ll try to upload later.

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First day we were there. A quick shot.

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Nice shot of Abe.

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Outside of la Casa Blanca.

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A shot from the WWII Memorial. Washington Monument in the background.

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There’s a longer story that goes with this, but George W. Bush is in that limo. I can post a larger picture if someone wants to try to see in there. But there were TONS of security cars before and after him. The limo is about to turn right into a back entrance to the White House. That lady biker cop you see was funny.

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Random street shot.

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Some artistic garden.

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Lots of folks around. Taken from the porch of the Lincoln Memorial.

Vacation Observations

Here are some general observations I made on vacation:

  • For some reason I don’t shower as much as I usually do when I’m at home. I guess since I spent so much time in the clorinated pool it seemed to suffice.
  • Sometimes I think getting a tattoo might be cool. But then I see a lot of bad examples of tattoos, and I rethink things.
  • Just because a restaurant has a lot of cars in the parking lot doesn’t mean it is good. We at at Hazel’s the first night. I’d rather eat rice cakes than go back there.
  • Even when you’re gone for a while, it seems there are things you don’t get done.
  • Movies seen on vacation seem to be more special.
  • I still don’t sleep late on vacation. But I didn’t want to anyhow.
  • Driving down the entire state with three kids isn’t that bad if you leave late enough for them to sleep most of the way. I was tempted to give them Benadryl, but it wasn’t needed.
  • Internet access on vacation seems wrong to some. It’s comfy to me.
  • You will go with out a lot of clothes in front of extended family at the beach and it’s not awkward. There is no way I’d walk into a Thanksiving dinner or Memorial Day cookout dressed only in nylon shorts and dripping wet and have normal conversations w/ my wife’s aunts. But on the beach? Straight from the pool? Who cares?
  • You can get burned quickly at the beach.
  • If you go to the pool about twice a day for five days, you’ll see some really interesting people there and think you know a lot about them.
  • Outdoor pools usually trump indoor pools.
  • Ground floor condos trump upper level condos. Sure, there’s not quite the view. But the access to everything makes such the difference.
  • I might could live in a beach town.

Back at home

Early this morning we roll back into town. We’ve been gone on vacation for the last 5 or 6 days. Orange Beach, AL!  So I’ve got a few stories to tell. A few observations. And tons of pics. It was good.

I absolutely loved crawling into my own bed in the very dark hours of night/morning. But when I work up this morning I missed being able to look out of my bedroom and see the pool and the ocean.

I wish I travelled with Matt

Surely you’ve seen the Where the He** is Matt video right? Where the guy traveled around the world and had videos of himself dancing in tons of major international landmarks?

Well Matt decided he wanted some company. This video is amazing. Check it out.


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

I wonder how many frequent flier miles he has racked up?

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