Friday, December 26, 2014

Surprise Trip To Ohio!!!

On December 7th, my family planned a surprise trip to Ohio to see Matthew and to meet his family!  Normally, we wouldn't have planned it to be such a surprise, but Matthew is always getting us and has been several up on us for quite a while, so we decided to get him with a good one!  We started planning it about a month ahead of time with Matthew's brother (Luke) and sister-in-law (Joan), and the closer it got, and the more people that knew what we were planning, the harder it became to keep the secret.  But keep it we did.

We left early Sunday morning on the 7th, and we were scheduled to arrive at Luke's house at 6:30 that night.  We were then going to either head over to Matthew's place to surprise him there, or Luke was going to somehow get him over to his place.  Well,...our plan almost didn't work like it was supposed to.  Luke texted us that morning while we were on the road, saying that Matthew was thinking about attending a church that was over an hour away and whose services didn't start until evening, and therefore, he wouldn't be home until around 9:00 or 10:00 at night!  Yikes!  After throwing around some ideas, Luke finally asked Matthew if he wanted to come over that evening to watch Andy Griffeth with him around 6:30, which Matthew ended up agreeing with, so he went to the local Baptist church in town.  Whew!  So our plan was set...

When 6:30 rolled around, we were a couple of minutes from Luke's house and he called to inform us that Matthew was not there yet.  We told him to just let us know when he arrived.  So we decided to stop in a local convenient store to wait.  And wait...and wait.  The minutes were slowly ticking by, and when we received a call from Luke at 6:45 saying he still wasn't there, and that he couldn't reach him on the phone, we decided to get back on the road and head in Luke's direction, ...slowly.  At 7:00 we were still driving around all of the back roads behind Luke's place, just killing time.  I tried texting Matthew, hoping that he would answer that and let us know what he was up to.  No reply.  I tried another text, letting him know that I was going to a friend's house that evening (hahaha!), and I probably wouldn't be able to text him that evening.  He finally replied back and told us that he had just gotten off the phone with a friend of his down in Florida after talking for the past 2 1/2 hours and he was heading over to Luke's to watch some Andy Griffeth.  I wished him a very nice evening (more chuckles), and he did the same for me.  

A few minutes pass and Luke texts us that he has arrived at his place.  At this point we were parked in a lot with our lights off, just waiting.  We gave him a few minutes to get settled in and then drove the 1/2 mile to Luke's.  We shut our lights off as we pulled into the drive and Luke saw us so he turned up some music so Matthew couldn't hear our diesel van pulling in.  We all piled out of the van and headed for the front door.  Dad knocked loudly and then we all broke out into "We Wish You A Merry Christmas!"....


It took a few minutes for them to reach the door, and when Luke finally opened it to reveal to Matthew who the Christmas carolers were, he was completely shocked!  He didn't even know what to do; he just stood there saying, "No way.  NO way!  I cannot believe you guys are in Ohio! No way! Luke!  You knew about this!"
As a side-note, about 17 people knew about our surprise visit and they all kept the secret from Matthew superbly!  It actually took about a day and a half for it to finally sink it that we were there, but we had a wonderful time.  Stay tuned for pictures from the trip...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

The Lord has blessed us richly this past year and we are so thankful to Him for everything He has done and is planning on doing in our lives!  We hope and pray that you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, keeping Christ as the center of the holidays, since He is indeed the reason for the season!
"Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!"
-2 Corinthians 9:15
The Hammond Clan

Gram and Pop
Dad and Mom
Caleb, Jordan, Victoria and Berea

 The 5 of us kids together!
Savannah, Ethan, Jordan, Kelsey, and Noah



 Victoria and Berea


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Music!

With Christmas approaching, I thought I'd pass along this lovely music video put together by Matthew.  He's playing O Come All Ye Faithful and it shows off a little bit of his talent on not only the dulcimer, but also the guitar! I think you will enjoy it and it should do well to put you in the Christmas mood!
If you enjoyed this little sampling of his music, don't forget that his CD's are on sale right now for 33% off the original price, so if you would like to hear more of his talent or if you are looking for a Christmas gift for someone who's hard to buy for, head over to his website and pick up one of his CD's.  It's sure to brighten up anyone's day.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sibling Goofiness!

So what do four crazy siblings do when they are in the van alone, while their parents are in the store shopping?
Take pictures!  ...Goofy ones!

Ah...there's a nice one...

Mom and Dad, returning with the groceries, thinking we're crazy....

Friday, December 19, 2014

My wonderful parents...

A few more courtship flower pictures...

I thought I'd add these two photos of the lovely bouquet that Matthew sent me when we started courting.

By the way, we have now been courting for over a month and a half!  Time flies!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dulcimer CD's on sale!

For those of you who didn't know already....
Matthew Dickerson is the 2012 National Dulcimer Champion!

He spent this past summer making his own CD.  Which is very good, I might add.  There are 12 songs on the CD; half of them are popular ones that you will recognize and the other half are original songs that he wrote himself.  He is a very talented musician who can play several instruments, so on this CD you will get a sampling of his skills with the dulcimer, guitar, tin whistle, and violin.

He is currently offering the CD on sale for 33% off of the regular price, so if anyone is interested in a unique gift for a friend or family for Christmas, check out his website at

Or you can look him up on Facebook at The Dulcimer Guy - Matthew Dickerson Musician.

It's a gift that everyone, young and old alike, would enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

NCFIC Conference: Days 5 & 6

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful.  The only thing raining on my day was that it was Matthew's last day with us....

Ethan, Dad and Mom walking down to breakfast together.  After eating, Matthew got permission from Dad for us to take another trip to the top of the mountain, but since we were short on time before the morning service, he decided to drive Ethan and I to the top, instead of walking up.

Walking to his car...

We stopped and talked with the Girotti family (our friends from Virginia) before heading up.  If you've been following my previous posts, this is where Matthew informed me that he wanted to talk about dreams up on top of the mountain.

Being a gentleman and opening my door!

Ethan had the camera this whole time and did a fantastic job taking pictures for us.  This unique feature of Matthew's car really interested him.  When the car starts, this "HELLO MATTHEW" message reads across the dash!

We arrived at the top of the mountain with the sun shining bright and warm.

...up on the lookout.

Enjoying talking and soaking up the sunshine...

Meanwhile, Ethan was keeping an eye on us as our chaperone and also having a little fun of his own.

Crazy chaperone...!

(We had no idea what Ethan was doing while we were talking... :D, we just kept hearing the snapping of the camera and didn't realize what had been going on behind our back until we were on our way back down!  He is too funny!)

Before long, it was time to head back for the church service, but before we headed back down the mountain, Ethan took a few posed pictures of the two of us...

After a wonderful church service, we headed over to a local pizza place.

Waiting for tables...

A goofy shot....
He was teasing me that I always hold my hands that way when I send him a picture, so he imitated me.  Since I couldn't do that, I opted for the fish lips look!

The kids table...

The adults table...

The young peoples table....
(I was feeling entirely too goofy; I didn't get the memo that this was a serious photo shot!  He,he,he)

Sharing a delicious cheesecake...!

After our late lunch, Matthew had to get on the road to be home in time to rest up for work the next day.  It was hard to see him go, but I was very thankful for the time that we were able to spend together.

Here I am, up on the lookout, after Matthew left...

Our family had a nice time that night playing games with some of the other families that stayed over till Monday.  We said our goodbyes to the Girotti and Yuck families that night.  The next morning we packed up our belongings and hit the road.  It was a great week with lots of sweet memories, good conversations, and wonderful people.