Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Baby (and my Mom!) are off to Europe!!

Well, it's official ... McKenna and Mom are on an airplane "as we speak" (or "as I write") heading to London. Well, actually... first they're heading to Memphis, then Detroit, then New York City (with a three-hour layover) and then to London and immediately to Paris.

They have got a whirlwind trip planned and I am SO excited for them. (And, a tad bit jealous too...well, A LOT jealous...but also thrilled that they're both getting to go!)

McKenna is going along with four other members of her church youth group, as part of an amazing oganization called Student Leadership University. She has gone to the first two sessions of SLU in Orlando and then last year in Washington D.C. It's an organization that really teaches leadership skills, and it has profoundly affected McKenna. This year, Mom got the itch to go with her and I'm so glad that she'll be there to experience it with McKenna.

We were up at 4 AM and left for the airport at 5. They flew out at 6:30.

Here's a pic of the whole crew at the airport, before it was even daylight!

This is their schedule for the week. Some exciting stuff!!

Day 1: Depart from JFK on your overnight flight to London

Day Two: Board your private coach for a whirlwind introduction to London by way of Buckingham Palace. Stroll through the mammoth Tower of London to see torture chambers and the Crown Jewels, be amazed by stories told by costumed Beefeaters. Climb the 500+ steps to the breath-taking view of London from atop St. Paul's Cathedral, and enjoy lunch at an authentic Medieval Banquet House. We make our way now to beautiful Paris, France via the Eurostar which takes us under the English Channel (known at the Chunnel).

Day 3: Start the morning with Session I: Leadership Summit. Our private SLU guides will lead us through Paris to explore The Louvre Museum. From there, be amazed at the sculptures of Rodin's Gardens, and visit Notre Dame Cathedral. Don't worry we'll have plenty of time for shopping. Then, on to Hard Rock Paris for dinner.

Day 4: Session II: Leadership Summit leads the way for an incredible trip into history as we drive through the French countryside to arrive at Normandy. Our historian will lead us through the memories of WWII as we visit the bunkers at Point Du-Hoc and Omaha Beach where our courageous soldiers paid a precious price for freedom. Be prepared for a moving time of prayer and commitment at an SLU wreath-laying ceremony at the U.S. cemetery. We stop for dinner before heading on board the Ferry to cross the English Channel on an overnight trip. This is an adventure in itself!

Day 5: Forget about rest! We have a power-packed day ahead. Still to come - The Cabinet War Rooms, Churchill Museum, Westminster Abbey, and The British Museum and, of course, lunch at Hard Rock London. Take your vitamins- the night is young! Dine at Piccadilly Circus before we experience the incomparable Les Miserable at the Queens Theatre.

Day 6: Can it get any better? Oh, yes it can! Today is a full day in the town of Oxford. Walk along the path where C. S. Lewis and Tolkien spoke of the Scriptures and held each other accountable to their dreams and goals. Spend the afternoon wandering the streets of Oxford for shopping and hanging with the locals. SLU will hold our Session III: Leadership Summit at the Sheldonian Theatre. Erected in 1664-8 to a design by Sir Christopher Wren, the Theatre at the University of Oxford is used today for college functions, including graduation ceremonies. Time permitting, take an optional trip on the River Thames to cap off the day. We complete this exhilarating day with leisure time in the quaint town of Windsor, just outside the castle gates.

Day 7: We saved the best for last! The beauty and splendor of Windsor Castle, the largest occupied castle in the world; a Royal home and fortress for over 900 years; and currently an official residence of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, must be experienced rather than visited, and we do that in the grand SLU style.

Day 8: Exhausted, but transformed, we board our flight home.

Pray that they'll stay safe...stay healthy and strong (my Mom has some health issues, so I'm just praying that she'll do well)... and have a great time!!


Amanda said...

Hey Cheryl, I read everyday, although I may not comment. I'm so busy at work! Hope all is well and happy anniversary. GREAT TIME for your mom and sweet.

Gin said...

EXCITING!!!! Good for them. I hope they have a great time!

Tawnya said...

That is such an amazing opportunity for your daughter and mother. Wow, those are the things that we dream of doing... so happy they are living out some of their dreams! Certainly will be praying for them and their safety and such.

Thanks for posting today! I have missed you. Hugs, T

Steph C said...

Oh I think Momma Cheryl will need some prayers too, that's a long trip for dd to be away, and in foreign countries no less. I will say prayers for all :).
And yes I am jealous as all get out! Normandy and the Louve??? Boy she is lucky!
Great job to everyone on raising the money so the kids could have such an amazing trip!

Adrienne said...

YAY!! So glad the day has finally come!!! I hope they have a wonderful time!!!!

Kelly said...

whew! That's a lot to see in such a short time. I hope they have a great time.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! That sounds like a blast. I would be jealous too. Maybe one day you can go too

Adriann said...

Sounds super exciting!!! I'm jealous too... I will lift up Mckenna, your mom, and the group in prayer.


Cheryl Wray said...

Amanda--Hey girl!!! Good to see you!! Glad to see that everything's okay. I know about life being busy! And thanks for the anniversary wishes!
Gin--Yes, very exciting!!
Tawnya--I also dream of going sometime. I love to travel!!
Steph--Yes, I will be worried about her. But I'm not so bad with Mom being with her. I'm all abou tbeing adventurous though, and try to cultivate that in my kids!!
Adrienne-Yep!! So excited!
Kelly--They are gonna be WIPED OUT when they get home!
Anon--I definitely want to go sometime too. They can learn all about it for me!
Adriann-Thanks for the prayers!!

Maria said...

Sending prayers as we speak (type.) They look so happy together! How very exciting indeed.

TK Angels said...

What a WONDERFUL trip and an experience. Umm- tell her to say hello to WIlliam & Harry :)

Take care,

They will have a safe trip!!

Disney Scrapper said...

What and awesome opportunity for both of them. I wish my grandmother had been around for me to share memories like that with her.

Dawn Bibbs said...

Oh wow, what an amazing opportunity for McKenna (and your mom). They both will remember this for the rest of their lives. I would love to be a fly on the wall when they return home. How I would love to see the excitement on McKenna's face and hear it in her voice.

Can't wait to read THAT post!

Pookiepie76 said...

Will do.

Check my site for a chance at a RAK. :)

Rhonda said...

It is awesome that your daughter & mother are getting a chance to go to Europe. What an adventure for them? My daughter graduates in four years and my plans are for the both of us to take a trip to Italy, since both mine and my ex-husband's ancestry comes from Italy.

Oh, and btw, I got busted today singing along with my Ipod at work, and trust me my vocal skills need some serious work. My co-workers thought it was funny.

Cheryl Wray said...

Maria--Thanks for the prayers! They WERE excited!
TK--LOL Absolutely...I think McKenna would have a heart attack if she saw William or Harry (those cuties!!)
DisneyS--i'm so glad that they're getting to experience this together!
Dawn--I know!! It will be so exciting to hear all about it when they get home!! I'm sure she will talk my ear off!!
Pookie--Ooh, I will have to come check out the RAK!
Rhonda--That trip to Italy would be AWESOME!!! I've always wanted to go to Italy too! That is TOO funny about the singing at work! lol

Susie Q said...

How exciting for them all!
They will make memories that last a lifetime! How wonderful....
I am so happy for them.
Loved the itinerary. What fun.

I know you will miss them but think about the wonderful stories they will have to share!

Thinking about you all!


angel said...

wow- are they even going to have a chance to take a breath!! wonderful!!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Oh My Goodness! What a wonderful trip they will have...
I know you are excited for them...
I'm praying for them to have a safe and Wonderful time..
God Bless!

Carmel said...

wow how exciting!!! I wish I was going with them though.

Southern Heart said...

What a wonderful opportunity, and a delightful trip! I will definitely keep all of them in my prayers, and will be anxious to hear about their trip, too.


Renee said...

Wow, what a great opportunity for her. I know she'll have a great time.

Linda said...

I'm stoked for them to get to go. I lived in Germany for 2 years and got to travel a lot of Europe. What a trip...literally. I'll keep them in my prayers that they stay safe. My MIL just got back from a trip to London....fully paid by the church...