Friday, September 19, 2014

The Smoky Mountain Shindig

My family and I spent the weekend of September 10th-14th up at Ridgecrest in the mountains of Asheville for the Shindig that No Greater Joy ministries was hosting!  To sum it up, we had a blast!  Here are some pictures to prove it...
Every morning and every night they held sessions in the main auditorium.  Nathan Pearl, Michael Pearl, and Joshua Steele were just a few of the speakers who gave messages from what the Lord had been laying on their hearts.  They spoke the truth, bluntly and strongly, but it was what all of us needed to hear!  One of the breakout session talks given during the weekend was by Kelsie Steele, wife of missionary Joshua Steele.  I have followed their blog for many years now so it was a special blessings for me to be able to not only meet them, but to share a wonderful conversation with her.  She was definitely very encouraging to talk with!

Here is my family waiting for the session to begin...

They also had plenty of entertainment before the sessions which ranged from adorable children singing scripture verses, to large families using their musical talent to glorify the Lord, to the insanely hilarious Soggy Britches Band with their hillbilly music and their "granny" who danced all over the stage!

Then there was the night that Mr. Michael Pearl put on quite a show of his knife throwing and whip-cracking abilities!  He and his son worked perfectly together, even going so far as to have his son catch the knives out of the air as he threw them!  Amazing skill, but slightly nerve-wracking!

This was the view from our room that we stayed in for the Shindig.  The beautiful Smoky Mountains....

The other direction from our lodging...

There was plenty of game time to get to know others at the Shindig and volleyball was just one of the many games going on in the afternoon. 

Ethan particularly enjoyed the volleyball games and we really enjoyed watching him play.  He doesn't get to play it that much, but he held his own in there and played a pretty good game.  Savannah, Noah and myself, on the other hand, were not quite so confident with our volleyball skills to join in the game.  I enjoy playing when it's just family making fun of my skills, I mean, playing with me!  LOL!

Ethan having a good old time!

He moved around so much that I had a hard time getting a good shot of him.  We got a good chuckle out of the way some of the photos turned out!

Other games going on at the same time included Ultimate Frisbee, putt-putt, Frisbee golf, cards, bean-bag toss, and an unusual game of what looked like hot potato with a ball, pictured below!

Mom, Savannah and I were simply enjoying watching...

Dad talking to a dear family friend...

Our family enjoyed two afternoons of playing putt-putt. 
(Or as my dear old brother-in-law would remind me, "Mini Golf"!)

The man lied to me though when he told me that by keeping everyone's scores I could win.  This was not true, to which he replied that I mustn't have kept score correctly!  Wink, wink...
Savannah ended up winning, even sneaking up behind Mom and Dad's score to do so.  My parents were playing so competitively against each other that neither one of them knew Savannah was taking the lead till the end!

Dad signed up to play in a ping-pong tournament one afternoon, so that was quite enjoyable to watch.

It's been about 5 years since he's played, so the challenger beat him, but he had a good time playing.

One evening, right after dinner, we decided to take a trip up to the top of the mountain.  There was supposed to be a really great view up there and we had about an hour to kill before the next session started.  When we were almost to the top it started to rain, so we weren't able to stay up there as long as we would have liked, but it was definitely a spectacular view! 

This sign greeted us upon our arrival:

How fitting!

The view from the top...I wish that I would have taken my camera so that the pictures would have been a better quality, but at least we were able to use Dad's phone to take some.  Better than nothing!

 Looking down at the interstate...

 The storm clouds were gathering...

"Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God, who covers the heavens with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow on the mountains."
Psalm 147:7-8

A quick picture of Mom, Dad and Savannah...

and then one of myself, Dad and Savannah.

Just about every day there were musicians playing together in an informal jam session.  It was always delightful to stop by and hear the beautiful harmony of their instruments as they played together.  Most of the young people playing together had never met each other before, let alone played with each other before, which always impresses me that they can simply pick up their instruments and play  so beautifully together, song after song after song!

After the last session every night, we would all split off into groups.  Ethan and Noah went with the 12-17 year old group, while Savannah and I went to the 18 and older, singles group.  Dad and Mom came with us to our group, where Dad was at once assigned to help out with the organizing!  That was right up his alley.

We played a lot of really crazy games each night, including Running Pictionary, Dodgeball, and Musical Chairs just to name a few, as well as some get-to-know-you types of games, like the one where you had to ask someone a given question at your table, get up, run to the next table and ask someone else a new question from that table.  

The pictures below where taken during a game where you had to ask questions of people and when you found someone who fit the question, you'd take a picture of them and move on to the next question.  Below is a picture of our new friend Muarya!

And lo and behold, I even got a pictures of my sister, Savannah, during the game!  She fit the bill for the description of "Someone who exhibits a lot of patience...".  Love you Vanna!

Last, but not least, each night they had dancing.  Square dancing!  And a few waltzes.  The man in the picture below, along with his brother, were patient enough to teach all 200 of us young people the steps to about 5 different dances.  It was not an easy task, but once we all had the hang of it, we didn't look too bad! ; )

 They made sure that the partners kept switching as one dance came to a close and another one started up.  We were all pretty evenly matched up, (it was amazing to see that many young men dancing) but there were about a dozen more girls than guys, so there were a few times when we girls had to grab another girl if we wanted to join in on the dance.

We all had a fun time and even Mom and Dad joined in on one of the dances, a waltz.  We were able to stand by and take a few pictures of them.  It was sweet to watch the two of them together!

Before leaving Asheville, NC we always make it a point to stop at the local pizza joint, My Father's Pizza and Pasta.  So after enjoying a quick lunch there, we headed on home to catch up on some of our farm chores that had been neglected while we were gone.

All in all, we had a lovely long weekend fellowshipping with other believers, relaxing and hanging out together as a family, hearing thought-provoking sermons and messages, and making new friendships.


  1. We all had a blast at the Shindig, too. :) We really enjoyed the sessions, activities, fellowship, and dancing. Your dad did a great job at helping out with the young people's games! And I didn't know that you all went to the top of the mountain! I wish we would have thought to do that, but I guess we were all busy doing other things. The view looks like it was gorgeous, though! Well, we'll see y'all soon. :)
    -Rebekah Stevens

  2. Hi Rebekah!
    Thanks for the comment! We had a lot of fun catching up with your family at the conference. Looking forward to seeing you again this Sunday as well!

    Yes, the Shindig was a lot of fun and a very good learning time. The view from the top of the mountain was gorgeous! Too bad it was rainy so we couldn't enjoy it longer. Maybe next time!

    : )