**EDITED TO ADD:
Here she is– our own lovely, lovely delightedabroad!!
Well, that made me breathe deeper. Is it OK to wish I was there?
Unbelievable beauty in all three pictures….
Loved all three photos, but especially the one of pretty mom and pretty daughters. I can see them now 9 years ago in that little shop picking out a ring to wear. Where does time go?
I know how hard the artsts’ work on a cruise but I hope he is managing to sneak in a little time with his girls. When you get home your air conditioning will feel even better to you than your bed.
delightedabroad is on this cruise!!! I met her, and her sweet husband and it was classic:
She came up and put out her hand and shyly said, “I’m ‘delighted’…” And I grabbed her hand and shook it and said, “I’m delighted to meet you, too!”
So then she said, “Uh, no, I’m delightedabroad– but I AM delighted to meet you.”
And then we hugged it out. A lot. I think I scared her.
Way to go delighted!!! So glad you are there!
The pictures are stunning!
And you gals are gorgeous! Have fun!!
(a lot of exclamation points right there!)
Oh wow!!! You got to meet Delighted Abroad and she got to meet you! “Delightful” all around! And now I’m REALLY jealous!
Your pictures are so beautiful………and cool! And the one of you and your pretty girls is a keeper!
Yay! I’m delighted for both of you!! And also, like Linda, very envious!
So glad you were able to meet delighted! Also, bee-u-ti-fulll pictures!
Did you perhaps snap a pictue of Delighted and her hubby so we that didn’t get to go on the cruise can see them too?
Wow ! And how cool is that !! = ) Thanks for the photos, and the up-date on meeting D and her hubby = ) And it’s OK, Delighted. No need to to have your mug up here if you don’t want it to be. Sometimes it’s good to have, keep a little mystery going about one’s self = ) Or just to keep some things between you, God, your husband and Tori <3 I also think some of the people here are a little too photo obsessed anyway. It's probably good for them not to get their way sometimes = )
I TOTALLY have a photo of delightedabroad, and I will post it ASAP! (She’s as adorable as her accent!)
I hope there was squealing. Those scenes should always include squealing.
Oh, and Tori…you can post any pics of me that you desire to…you too, Linda. Although I don’t think we’ve ever actually taken any pics, now that I think about it. (How’d that happen?)
Oh, you are so right, Alyson—–”squealing” is required! And I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of you when we met in Gatlinburg a few years ago. A lot of times, I think of it after it’s too late! Especially if I excited to meet someone that I’ve grown to love but never actually met in person——like YOU! I get caught up in the moment—–guess I don’t have a photographer’s mindset and “focus”!
The first time I met Tori, it was in Gatlinburg……at a Gaithernet luncheon. I was talking to my Mom and pointing out different folks I knew and I heard someone across the room say, “There’s the one I want to meet..”, and when I turned around, it was the beautiful Ms. Taff! And she was heading FOR ME! I thought I would probably squeal too when I finally met her…….but I did’t. I bawled like a baby…..for a minute! (I did have to be there for the luncheon, after all! No ugly cry! LOL ) It was just that we had shared so much of ourselves over the couple years I had known her from Gaithernet, and had prayed for each other so many times, I was just overwhelmed. It was like meeting my long lost sister. (I have a picture of our meeting that day, and it’s very dear to me! I’d post it anywhere, though. No problem. But that’s just me.) And I’m sure you felt the same way, Alyson! And you too, Delighted! And anyone else who’s met our Bloggy Princess! Tori has an incredible gift for making folks feel important to her and worth her attention. And she will provide the squealing, if you’re bashful.
Alyson, we HAVE to meet somewhere again so I can get your picture, Girl! This just ain’t right! In fact, I hope someday, before I’m using a walker, we can ALL meet somewhere——a Babybloomr retreat somewhere lovely and central to us all. SWEET SWEET! Lots of hugs, squeals, and pictures! In other words—–HEAVEN on earth! What a sweet bunch of folks here! (And jonny, we “may” leave you out of the picture taking, but not the other stuff. Don’t even ask. LOL We’ll let you work the camera. )
I think we should stop just talking about a bloomr reunion (Do you have to ‘union’ before you ‘reunion’…I’ll have to think about that…)
What was I saying? Oh yeah, we should get together.
I think I’ve told the story of meeting Tori. (Hey- I’m a poet!) So I won’t re-tell it. But I was thinking the other day how long it’s been since I saw any of the Taff fam..and I miss having a Russ hug! Y’know, full of cologne and deep-voice laughing. (WHY is Russ always laughing when I talk to him? Now I have to think about THAT,too.)
Re-reading this I sound like I’m drunk or something…just tired. And hot.
Oh Delighted! You’re so beautiful……and you even LOOK smart!! Like a translator!!! I know you must have had a terrific time on the cruise! Please tell us about it when you get a minute!
So nice to see your sweet face delighted!!! I’m squealing!! What a blast!
Wow ! She IS adorable ! And it’s probably not easy up-staging Tori in a photo, either !! ; )
Alyson, DO re-tell it.
Mostly Sunny, it IS blast, isn’t it!
Oh my goodness, it is delightful seeing delighted with Tori! It’s fun just seeing their meeting…..and they are both pretty, too.
Oh, and thanks so much LB for the first meeting story with Tori !! I’m sure that photo is very precious, dear to you. Thanks for being willing to share it = ) I regret, and feel bad, that the communication was so messed up with the photos being made public on Bloomr of our first meeting. I believe the baby was thrown out with the bath water on that one. It just would have been nice if someone would’ve let me know what was happening = / It is sometimes hard enough for me to allow someone to actually take a picture of me in a private, personal, non-public setting, and being in a position of having to trust women can also be quite challenging one at times, so suddenly seeing ALL of them laid bare before God and everyone here on this type of blog without the tiniest bit of warning, or understanding on my part was truly more than I could take, handle at that time. Of course Tori and LB thought it was OK, otherwise it never would have happened in the first place. But, it is still hard for me to be a part of this blog now as a result. But I made a promise, and a commitment, so there ! And it probably could not have happened at a more vulnerable time. Just before I was about to meet the two people who are pretty much responsible for exposing and violating pretty much anything that they could while I was growing up. Even though they truly did not mean to. Fortunately, we were able to discuss some of that while I was there this time. Anyway, still regret things went the way they did with that = /
Aw, don’t give it another thought, small j– everybody has their little idiosyncrasies about having their picture taken. (I for one cannot stand to see any photos that show off my double chin or squinchy eyes!) And everybody’s always welcome to say yes or no to photos here at the good ol’ ‘bloomr– we just enjoy seeing what our virtual friends actually look like!
Well, there were three I would have given a big fat YES to, after recovering lol, but we sadly lost those also = / And, thanks !! Even though the experience was quite stretching at the time, and still is to some degree, I guess God could not have picked a better spot for the Taff-y pull (ooh, how clever is THAT!?!!) to take place = )
Well…briefly…(yeah,right…who has ever known me to be brief?)
I looked ALL OVER FF that year (don’t remember what year) for Tori. Asked Russ about a million times and it was always: ‘She’s here somewhere’ or ‘She’s on her way’…
Usually one can see Tori fly by or catch a glimpse of her at the table. That year…not even a sighting.Told Russ I thought she had stayed behind in Nashville. By Sun. I had almost given up. Went to the reception upstairs Sun. afternoon and saw her across the room. Finally got a chance to introduce myself and there was hugging and the requisite squealing. Met Madi. And Char, very briefly. She was a busy girl.
I think it was the next year that I told Russ he needed to change his ‘medals shirt’ …but that’s another story.
“I think it was the next year that I told Russ he needed to change his ‘medals shirt’ …but that’s another story.”
Too funny ! But one that requires being told, I’m sure = )
Great photo! I’m genuinely excited, thrilled, grinning from ear to ear and slightly emotional that you got to meet (I haven’t squealed yet – I don’t think I’m the squealing type)!
And, I’m enjoying hearing all your ‘meeting in the flesh’ stories.
So, when is it my turn?!
What about right now, Rachel! I’d love to hear it!
Hi folks, we’re back home after a more than 30-hour-journey….. we had veeeeerry longlasting (felt-like-forever ) stops.
You’re all so kind about our photo. Usually I feel quite uncomfortable seeing myself on a photo – this one is ok and I already emailed that to Tori.
Hey y’all: I truely would have loved meeting you! And I like the idea of a union or reunion or whatever you’ll call it
Could you please show just a little more patience till I got rid of the jetlag? Then I’m absolutely willing to tell more.
We’ll be patient Delighted! Welcome home, now get some sleep.
LindaB – what would you like to hear? Me Squealing? I hope not as I’m not sure I’m physically capable – maybe you can teach me at the re/union. If, on the other hand, you’re waiting for a ‘meeting in the flesh’ story, you’ll have to wait for that to actually happen first!
Glad you guys made it back home safely, D !! = ) 30 hours ! Mercy, that IS long !!
You’re right jonny, it is long. Especially if you spend most of the time waiting for your next flight.
Btw, my hubby won’t object to be ‘presented’ on this blog. “Photo-wise” I mean. Anyway, you’ll have to wait until he has finished working on our photos. As far as I know you don’t have a pic of my husband, Tori, right? Ha, got you!
Guess where we went for having dinner today…
At least your husband gets to have a little say in how he is visually presented here *innocently roll eyes*.
Nope. Nothing of this sort. After days of culinary delicacies we enjoyed a simple McDonald’s meal
Well, you’ve already seen awesome pictures of Alaska’s landscape and I agree with Tori: it’s absolutely stunning. And so is its wildlife. We have seen bald ealgles in the “Alaska Raptor Center” from a few steps distance (also hawks and owles), dolphins playing and jumping in the stern wash and even whales. Best time we could see them was when sitting in the Lido restaurant – and the camera down in our stateroom!
What would you prefer to hear about the cruise? As I don’t have this unique writing talent Tori is gifted with, it would be easier for me to answer questions.
I was going to put McDonald’s !! Then Burger King, but decided to show off a little instead = /
Trust your inner voice, jonny
Well, Delighted, if it’s questions you need, I’ve got ‘em, Girl!
How did the “check-in” part of the cruise go? Did it go quickly?
Did anyone welcome you and hubby aboard? What was the food like? Did you go directly to the ship from the airport, or a hotel? Did you tell Tori you were coming? How was the music? Did your hubby like it? What was your room like? Did you have any sea sickness problems? Was it “smooth sailing”? What did Russ sing? What other artists did you enjoy, assuming Russ was number one? Which artists did you get to meet and what was your impressions? Did you get cold? Did you need a winter coat? Which port of call did you enjoy most…..and which did your husband? How many concerts were there? Was there TV on board so you could keep up with the news? Was there room service? What do you do all day long, until the concerts start? How long were the concerts? Did they tape them for a new video series? Is the concert seating first come, first serve? Did Bill have any new jokes? Were they funny? Did you meet the captain of the ship? Did you check his credentials? His “breath”? (LOL Just joking.) Were there enough life rafts in case of a Titanic-type situation? Was it all you thought it would be? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your personal experience? Would you recommend it to your friends?
Oooo, can’t wait for Delighted to answer those questions!
I have just one more to add : How long had this been booked for and how did you keep it a secret from us?!!
Yeah, Rachel!!! I wanna know that too!!! LOL
And one more…..what were the hours breakfast was served? (In case I ever get to go on this cruise….) That’s important to me.
Did you ever get “concert overload”? Did your hubby? I don’t think I ever would, but I know my husband would. What is there to do if you chose to skip a concert?
Let me begin with your last questions:
I think I booked the cruise itself last September, the flights in October(nearly November) and that was God’s sign for me to go because this were the last regular seats on the flight! Yes, I told Tori we would come. The most important reason not to mention it on this blog was that I didn’t want anyone to be envious. Another reason was that I was afraid my dear hubby could have second thoughts and ask me to cancel it.
As I learned that flights from Europe come in to Seattle in the aftenoon or evening only we had to come a day prior to the cruise. (Embarkation was over at 3.30 pm)So we got to the pier by hotel shuttle service. (Btw we met a few people in the hotel who were also heading for this very cruise!) The employees of Inspiration Cruises had excellently organized the check-in, everyone was photographed and welcomed aboard. We could go straight to our stateroom which looked like an upscale hotel room. (I’ll be sending Tori some pics)Each one equipped with a TV set so you could see where the ship was (how fast, what temperature etc.) and also with a channel playing homecoming videos. The food was delicious no matter where you went. In fact you could get food from 6am until midnight. And the service staff was incredibly friendly and obliging, I can tell you!
In terms of “smooth” sea my hubby and I have different definitions: I enjoyed the ship’s movements while he got a little seasick on the first day at sea. But with those tablets I got for him from the Front Office (aka Reception) he felt allright the next day. However he missed the first formal night.
Ok, now the concerts: There were usually two per day, one in the morning and the other in the evening. All passengers were supplied with badges, one half with red ones, the others with blue ones. So in fact our dear artists had to perform four times a day. But don’t worry, they took turns so that everyone had the chance to get some rest. They taped a lot and I guess you will soon find some hints on gaither.com. Oh my, these are singers. Often enough I just sat there soaking and savouring the harmonies (while hubby clapped and tapped his foot to the music…) I seem to lack the appropriate vocabulary to describe that. We both said on our last day on board that we would love to continue for a while longer. That is one big compliment because on earlier journeys we both struggled with homesickness.
One thing I love about America, one can usually find ‘breakfast’ 24 – 7 at some accommodating restaurant ! Or, from 06:00 to 00:00 on a cruise ship = )
Awww, Delighted, we would have been slightly envious but mainly just incredibly excited for you!
You’re selling the whole experience very well (I can but dream)!
Oh my, Delighted——-you have made me want to start saving my money for a cruise to Alaska! Thanks for answering mine and other’s questions! And like someone said, I might be envious if I didn’t know how hard you worked and studied the past few years, and how much you earned this beautiful trip!
Oh, delighted, it sounds like a dream vacation!!! So glad you did it!
We were booked for the Gaither Alaska cruise about 4 years ago, but then had to cancel because of a family emergency. We still haven’t done it, but one of these days. So glad you and your husband had a great time.
I guess we are all just so delighted for Delighted !! = )
One more question, Delighted………did you notice if Tori smelled like pesto?
Okay. I lied. I have one more question. Can you fish from the boat?
Did Tori smell like pesto–and did Russ smell as good as everyone says?!
Or was is his perfume as strong as ‘everyone’ says …
And, sorry, no fishing from the boat ! I’m also interested in knowing the route it took. I remember on one trip we could see a couple bears at various points on land not far from the ship. Wonder if that would be possible via a Gaither cruise as well…
I’m awfully sorry I can just say they both smelled good – there was such a mixture of smells in the Ocean’s Lounge where the ‘Gaither Bookstore’ was located (Jason Crabb has a good aftershave too and his table was next to Russ’).
You’re right, jonny, no fishing from the boat. The ship stopped at Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. At the Raptor Center in Sitka you could go on a trail into the forest but a sign said that this is perfect habitat for brown bears so walking there would be on your own risk!
LindaB, when booking and organizing this cruise it was the first time I could use what I had learned in my economics lesson :-/ (Just think of the formal language in contracts…)
Wow, all wonderful places !! Thanks, D ! And yes, I’d risk bumping into a brown bear or two. I’d have my bear bell with me, of course, to let them know I’m-a comin’ !! = )
Delighted, did YOU go on that trail? There’s no way in the world I’d go where I might meet a bear!!! One look at me and that bear would think, “All you can eat buffet”!!! No way!
Madi needs to join us and tell her ‘bear in the garbage’ story…
My daughter and I were about 3 feet from a mother bear and her cub in Cade’s Cove a couple of years ago. People were yelling at us, trying to alert us, but we were talking so much we didn’t realize it. But no one who was yelling used the word ‘BEAR’…I think we might have caught on to that.
Alyson – I love Csdes Cove – and have been fairly close to bears there too (but not as close, or oblivious as you)!! My Dad and husband did find themselves dangerously close to a rattle snake while hiking around there though!
LindaB, we would have walked there for a short distance if our tour bus driver hadn’t given the return signal.
All in all, I’d like to cruise again some day…but we will DEFINITELY look for other seats on the plane – those where hubby won’t get blue marks on his knees :-/
I love Cade’s Cove and I’ve been trying to get there all summer to spend the day and take pictures, but I haven’t made it yet. It’s one of the places I want to take our friend ‘Scottish Amanda’ when she gets to come back to TN.
I always look very carefully in the woods and tall grass around here in the summer…we see snakes pretty often. Not rattlers very often but water moccasins, also harmless black snakes.
Hopefully, we’ll be back there in 2013. We have had such great holidays in that area. Yes, the locals were fairly surprised that they were so close to a rattler! Amanda would love it (so pleased I got to meet her this year, and hope to again).
Would love to meet Amanda, and her husband Stephen. High on my bucket list is to go to Scotland. Stephen takes amazing pictures of the local scenery. Would love for them to come here,too.
2013? Well, I’ll just have to drive over to the mountains and see you guys! We’ll just have our own mini-reunion!
Its a date for 2013!!
And if you ever come to Scotland, I’m not very far away – I’m in the north east of England so can be over the border in an hour or so!
I’m supposed to be in Scotland this summer for re-newing of the vows ceremony. For what it’s worth.
And it’s a good thing rattle snakes aren’t aggressive. Been inches away from a couple myself. Their warning rattle can sure freeze your heart for a moment or two, though !! = /
Where abouts are you going jonny, and when?
Not sure yet. I’ll of course let you know more when I do !! Been thinking about using it as an excuse to try and meet you guys since first hearing about it !! = )
I have a bear story! Well, it’s not my story but my sisters…
First, a question – What do they do with the bears in Yosemite National Park (California) that annoy campers over and over again?
Answer – They take them outside the park and let them go (to wander aimlessly and annoy other people).
Which brings me to my sisters bear story…
She lives about 1 1/2 hours mountain driving from the Yosemite park entrance in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. One night, in the middle of the night, her husband – my brother-in-law, Mike – heard this noise that woke him up. He peered out their bedroom window then said, “Brenda, there’s a bear getting out of our pool!” Of course, she didn’t believe him and had to see for herself. Yep, a very large black bear. He didn’t seem to bother anything, left the yard after his midnight swim and that was that. Until the next morning…
…when they went out to the car to leave for work…
The bear had OPENED THE CAR DOOR! He had gotten in and tore up the upholstery in the back seat and the backs of the front seats! Completely shredded! Brenda and Mike had gone to the grocery store that day and bought a roasted chicken…and the bear must have smelled that and tore the place apart!
My sister said – “You should have heard the conversation with the insurance agent.”
$7,000.00 worth of damage!! It was a new car, too!
So now when I go visit my Dad, who lives right near my sister, he keeps his shotgun handy because he hears the bear(s) in his garbage cans at night. And we see his (their) footprints and “dropping”. Yikes!
Oh, and in the summer – big, dang, ugly, mean rattlesnakes! We use .22 rifles for them!
Gosh, I sound like Ellie Mae Clampet, don’t I?
Oh, and continuing with the bear theme story…
My older sister, Linda, was visiting my Dad from the San Francisco area after the “bear-pool-car” incident. She decided to go for a walk around the property and thought she had better take a gun (rifle) with her. She grabbed the one propped up behind the front door and off she went.
When she came back from her walk — no bear sightings – she put the gun back in it’s place. To which my Dad said to her “What were you doing with that toy pop-gun?”
Obviously, she doesn’t know lick about guns!!!
And it’s a good things she didn’t see a bear!!!
Yep, bears are equipped with awfully good smellers ! And I would not advise anyone to shot a bear just to annoy, or scare away. Basically, no shot guns or small fire-arms. While touring the Yukon Territory of Canada and Alaska, many were telling me stories, and a few from those who had to deal with the bears, or catch them afterwards, of some bears that have attacked humans to have signs of being shot by man at one point. I guess they don’t for get that and take it out on the next person they meet up with = /
And my parents had a bear on their street as well awhile back in Nor Cal. Shortly after one was hit and killed on a freeway near by and it is believed to be the same one. It was first discovered popping its head up and looking into a neighbor’s window.
Oh, and my daad went toe to toe with a bear at Yosemite ! He was on a path, turned a corner and ‘ta-da,’ there it was ! He didn’t notice the bear until turning that corner and ending pretty much face-to face with it; and for some reason the bear didn’t know he was gonna be there either. I’m told the just stood there looking at each other, both a little surprised by this chance acquaintance. He then started calling for my mom. The bear went on his way shortly afterwards. My dad probably should’ve never brought his ‘loves a good story’ wife in on this one though. Every time she tells it, my dad ends up being more and more ‘in fear for his life, desperately calling to her for help’ each time she tells it ! Poor guy = /
Another one. A young man working, I believe for the Forest Service, had to be in a certain spot for a week or so. First few nights a bear came and was able to get at some of his food/supplies each time. He knew he had to do something quick, or fast a few days. Well, he had a large black plastic garbage bag with him. He went to the nearest body of water and filled it up. He then tied it up, but not too high. He proceeded to smear peanut butter on the bags under-belly. Well, that night the bear went for the peanut butter, claws and all, and got quite the surprise. The bear never bothered him again after that. True story.
I loved the bear stories! They just steeled my resolve to never live in or near the “wild”! Nor visit anyone living there! And always carry a big gun!
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