Branson Vacation 2015

every summer my family takes a trip to Branson, Missouri. my grandparents own a time-share there so we usually go down for about a week. this year we went from June 28th {a Sunday} to July 5th {also a Sunday}. my momma and Shaylee stayed back to due to work so this time, there was only 8 of us that went.

Sunday morning we got up really early since we wanted to get right on the road to beat some of the heavy traffic. close to 6:00 we were all pulling into Village Inn to grab a quick breakfast before heading out. by the time we finished eating, it was about 7:00. usually the drive down is about 8 & 1/2 hours with typical stops. this time though we decided to take a different route which would add another 2 hours. you may asking why we would do that so here’s the reason:

4 years ago, shortly after the Joplin tornado hit {if you don’t know about this horrible event, read about it here. this article gives a pretty good summary of how it hit the town more specifically. the numbers in it are a little different than what it ended up to be but still give you a pretty good idea. the Joplin tornado ranks at #7 of the deadliest or worst tornadoes in U.S history.}, we re-routed and stopped through there. what a life-changing experience that was! just seeing all the damage and destruction that had taken place was something that really made you remember how truly lucky you are. i can remember all the little details of that day. some of the things i will never forget were:

  • first off, how obviously there was nothing left standing. it didn’t matter where you looked, there wasn’t a structure left in one piece or even close that. literally everything was in shreds on the ground.
  • the people, who were drenched in tears, digging through the piles of broken items and putting anything they could possibly recover in a bag.
  • the, what used-to-be houses, marked with the multiple, big ‘x’s stating that there were bodies inside.
  • the original Home Depot building was knocked down, but there was a large tent set up next to where it used to be, that people could go and get things. such as clothes to shoes to blankets to even food and water for free because literally, at that point no one had anything. everything was lost. 
  • the cars and semi trucks that were down to the metal frame. you could barely tell they were once vehicles.

the biggest memories though are the ones that come with pictures of the progress they made :). here’s memories with a picture & story that have been tucked into my mind forever:

  • there was a point along the path of damage where a very large, church once stood. it was amazing because despite the fact that the entire building was knocked down, the cross of the church was still standing. the ONLY thing out of that whole church left and that you could even see or recover was the cross! if that wasn’t Christ right there than i don’t know what was. what an inspiration and hope for the community of Joplin! people,the entire town was destroyed! completely gone! but Jesus Christ was still there! << Psalm 121:7 “the Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life”>> << Deuteronomy 31:6 “be strong and courageous. do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”>>  the picture you see below is of that same cross. they never rebuilt that church so today, only the cross remains but not one piece of it’s value is lost.
    the remaining cross, in the empty lot where the church was taken down & never rebuilt.

    the remaining cross, in the empty lot where the church was taken down & never rebuilt.

    kind of hard to tell but this is a picture of the empty lots near the church. just one part of the town where there was too much damage to rebuild. kinda sad to remember how much the tornado actually took out.

    kind of hard to tell but this is a picture of the empty lots near the church. just one part of the town where there was too much damage to rebuild. kinda sad to remember how much the tornado actually took out.

  • just up the road from the where the church & cross stood was St. John’s Hospital. if you read the article above or know anything about St. John’s you probably know that the hospital was one of the worst things that got hit. the hospital was full of patients, nurses, doctors and tons of other people when the deadliest part of the tornado struck it’s building. i can remember the smashed building; it wasn’t completely to the ground since it went up so tall but was kinda just crumbled. therefore, you could see where the windows were shattered out. the stretchers and other medical equipment hanging out of them. the beds and TVs from the hospital rooms just laying around. the overwhelming amount of ‘x’s. the sadness and tears that immediately filled you because you could feel the pain those people were going through. // they had no choice but to take the hospital down. like the church they didn’t re-build the hospital in that same location but instead put the structure below up. i absolutely love this memorial because it is a simple yet significant way to remember such a tragic even that took place.
hands & a cross is what the memorial consists of. it is in the exact location where the hospital once stood. it is kind of hard to tell in this picture but actually this structure stands on a hill. not just an ordinary hill though. the hill was created by the people of Joplin... they buried parts of the hospital under the ground and purposely created the mound for the memorial which was to come. love,love,love!

hands & a cross is what the memorial consists of. it is in the exact location where the hospital once stood. it is kind of hard to tell in this picture but actually this structure stands on a hill. not just an ordinary hill though. the hill was created by the people of Joplin… they buried parts of the hospital under the ground and purposely created the mound for the memorial which was to come. love,love,love!

one of the plaques on the hospital memorial.

one of the plaques on the hospital memorial.

  • there was another site that really meant a lot to to us & the town of Joplin. actually it’s not much of a “site” but rather a tree stump and a few broken branches. however it is painted with all the colors of the rainbow and also has 3 signs attached that read “help feed the birds”. you will also spot the few bird feeders hanging on and the trash can next to the tree. to some the tree make look trashy or boring but really to the people of Joplin and others who experienced the tornado, it means a lot. here’s the story why: like I explained earlier, when the tornado hit, it completely wiped out areas, to the point where there was nothing left but empty lots. in this specific part of town, this tree was the only tree or in fact anything left. the top of course is gone but the bottom is still in place. not only that but this tree is located right next to the high school where many people lost their lives that Sunday. a graduation ceremony for the school had been going on, right when the tornado struck it and it was such a devastating deal. instead of just chopping down the tree, the people decided to leave it up and make something of it. personally, I think this idea was great 🙂
  • lastly, we when we were finishing our trip through town, we passed by this great, big church. that’s not what stood out to us though, the note they had on their sign. it read “today’s to do list…thank God.” this really stuck out to us because too often we get so caught up in the world and really forget how precious life honestly is. I know it sounds cliché but seriously. we don’t remember to actually slow down and truly thank God for what we have and this life. seeing this sign was just a great reminder to just take it day by day and don’t forget God, ya know?

once we finally reached Branson, we dropped off all of our stuff at the house then went to grab some dinner. there was only one restaurant choice on the table and that was of course, the Mexican restaurant, “Little Hacienda”. it has always been tradition to eat there the first night we arrive so there was no questions asked. 🙂 by the time we got done eating, it was late and time to unpack and head off to bed.

Monday was kind of a chill day because it was our first official day there and we didn’t really have much planned. my aunt, uncle and 2 of my cousins decided to leave right after breakfast and go zip-lining. Katie and I weren’t really feeling that then so we stayed home with my grandma and grandpa. we ended up spending the entire day & night at the pool. once we finally got out late that night, we were wiped out. we went back to the house and ate a late supper with the family.

the day was pretty laid back but boy was the night a ride… as in emergency room round 2! here’s the story: as you know, Monday night, we ate late due to us spending so much time in the pool. just as we were about to start eating, I got this really sharp pain in both of my arms and fingers. the family talked about it a bit because we were all around and I took some ibuprofen. the pain continued to get sharper and sharper and by the time we finished eating I was hurting terribly. I decided to skip out on desserts and such and just head off to bed, to hopefully get rid of the pain. I was able to sleep for a few hours but then about 1, I woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep. the pain was still in my arms and fingers but had moved also into my upper chest. I was in unbearable amounts of pain so I went upstairs and got my grandma up to see if she had some different medicine. long story short, we called the nurse line or whatever it is and they told us after hearing my symptoms and such to get immediately to the hospital. so there, my grandma, grandpa, aunt and I went. it turned out that I had 2 very, severe muscle strains in my entire arms. the gave me a shot and some meds and a couple hours later, I was out of the hospital. it took a while for the shot to kick in but once it did, oh my goodness, I have never been more relieved. I was taking meds by the clock and ended up okay. we were all short on sleep but hey, I was just so thankful I had my troopers by my side. p.s—> funny how my grandparents are always the ones dragging me into E.R right?? if you missed the first trip, read about it here. either way, I’m so thankful they stick by me through it all.

lucky us, Tuesday we had to get up bright and early since we were planning on taking our boat out on the lake. my grandma, grandpa, aunt and i were a bit tired {obviously} but were still able to get up and moving, ha. we were on the water by 9 am and spent a few hours out there til about 1:30 in the afternoon. my family was practically raised on the water so we are huge water people! we had a great time tubing, swimming, cliff-jumping and so on. that was the biggest thing from Tuesday.

on Wednesday, we once again got up really early and then headed to Silver Dollar City. we went there 4 years ago so it was time to go again! it was a little bit hot and way crowded but definitely worth spending the day there!

the next day, Thursday, my grandpa, grandma, cousins and i all went up to the Wax Museum. that was so cool because the figures looked so real and we learned more things about them that we hadn’t known before. the museum took up most of our morning so by the time we got done it was time for lunch. we met back up with my aunt and uncle and ate at Fall Creek Steak & Catfish House. to get a better idea about what this restaurant is like, just read their motto. it is “home of the tossed rolls.” you may question it, but yes, it is true. they throw hot rolls at you across the building. cool right?! 🙂 not to mention, they have some pretty neat decorations all over their walls and the food is delicious! 😋 after we finished lunch, we all headed back to the outlet malls to do some more shopping.

Friday was such a good day! first off, it was a Friday and who doesn’t love those 😜. second, it was the 3rd of July so everything from head to toe is SO exciting! 😁 late that morning, we headed down to Branson Landing, one of our favorite places! it’s a big shopping mall, with amazing restaurants, popular stores, and a gorgeous view. we went shopping for a few hours then ate a later lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack. after Joe’s, we went back shopping for a while before our dinner reservations. we ate dinner at this oh my goodness, incredible place– Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar. absolutely delicious! 😋 by the time we got done there, it was time to go watch the firework show off the lake that we always watch, every year! 🎆🎇 that was a great way to spend the rest of the night and just get ready for the big day following. traffic and the amount of people there was unreal but totally worth it! 👌

Saturday, finally the 4th!!! 🎆🎇 everything about this was perfect and im not just saying that because Independence Day is my absolute, favorite holiday ever 😉. we ended up spending the day & night swimming, eating & drinking, and of course watching fireworks. nothing too fancy, but enough for us! 👌 i was a  bit bummed not being able to spend the day with my momma, since it was her birthday, but she had a fantastic day anyway so it was alright! ☺ {ps: how cool is it that her birthday is on the 4th of July?! pretty stinking cool I think 😜}

the last day, Sunday. we got up bright & early and hit the road. we had to be home at a fairly decent hour, due to the fact that i was literally leaving for cheer camp the next morning. 😩 the drive home was obviously shorter, since we didn’t stop in Joplin but still a long journey.

the week was so much fun, definitely adventurous! here’s some pictures below that you’ll want to check out! thanks for reading & being so patient!

much love, Davianne

em & kat ❤

em & kat ❤

casual photo of canorah & i daily kicks 😉

casual photo of canorah & i daily kicks 😉

kat & i snuggling ❤

kat & i snuggling ❤

what difference? 😜

what difference? 😜

Em loved those big glasses 😂😂

Em loved those big glasses 😂😂

Joe's menu

Joe’s menu

front side menu of Fall Creek 😋

front side menu of Fall Creek 😋

back side menu of Fall Creek 😋

back side menu of Fall Creek 😋

funny story behind this one but the general idea is: when you spend everyday at the pool, this is the result 😜 towels beyond towels man

funny story behind this one but the general idea is: when you spend everyday at the pool, this is the result 😜 towels beyond towels man

Em & i late on the 4th!

Em & i late on the 4th!

shopping with canorah results in this 😂😂 love it tho

shopping with canorah results in this 😂😂 love it tho

Em & I would usually get up and  have a little night snack or two... 😉😋

Em & I would usually get up and have a little night snack or two… 😉😋

Silver Dollar City 👌

Silver Dollar City 👌

Big Whiskey's 😋😋

Big Whiskey’s 😋😋

hospital band 😩

hospital band 😩

canorah 😉 was very thrilled to be up so early at Silver Dollar City 😂

canorah 😉 was very thrilled to be up so early at Silver Dollar City 😂

pulling our boat out of the marina. clear water.

pulling our boat out of the marina. clear water.

Little Hacienda 😋😋 menu

Little Hacienda 😋😋 menu

Canorah & i matching 💁

Canorah & i matching 💁

yay for random, splotchy sunburns 😂

yay for random, splotchy sunburns 😂

casual photo of canorah 😂

casual photo of canorah 😂

yay yay yay

yay yay yay

other side of Silver Dollar City ticket

other side of Silver Dollar City ticket

yet again 😂

yet again 😂

a cute little turtle 🐢 the girls & i helped off the road on the way to the pool ☺

a cute little turtle 🐢 the girls & i helped off the road on the way to the pool ☺

Wax Museum: Jack Black

Wax Museum: Jack Black

Wax Museum: Bradley Cooper

Wax Museum: Bradley Cooper

Wax Museum: Dale Earnhardt Jr

Wax Museum: Dale Earnhardt Jr

Wax Museum: Jeff Gordon

Wax Museum: Jeff Gordon

Wax Museum: Dale Earnhardt

Wax Museum: Dale Earnhardt

Wax Museum: Indiana Jones & Canorah

Wax Museum: Indiana Jones & Canorah

Wax Museum: Willie Nelson

Wax Museum: Willie Nelson

Wax Museum: Vin Diesel

Wax Museum: Vin Diesel

Wax Museum: Barack Obama

Wax Museum: Barack Obama

Wax Museum: Taylor Swift

Wax Museum: Taylor Swift

super cool gorilla at the Wax Museum

super cool gorilla at the Wax Museum

old wheel in front of Little Hacienda

old wheel in front of Little Hacienda

the sign!! love

the sign!! love

the tree :)

the tree 🙂

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