The Hyatt Hotel Hillbillies

Todd, the boys and I just returned from a quick trip to the Detroit area so I could speak to a wonderful group of gals at Immanuel Lutheran in Utica, MI. This group went all out to insure that we were well taken care of. Since this event was nearly two hours from home and in the evening, it required an overnight. So they secured a hotel for us. Now, this happens often in my speaking travels. It is one of the many blessings that God has showered on my family as we’ve said yes to the call to be a family with a mom who shares God’s encouragement with other women through written and spoken words.

When the clan comes along, we have several ‘hotel traditions’ such as the kids riding the valet cart along with the suitcases up to the room and, upon entering the room, calling the front desk to ask permission to jump on the beds. (That request usually has about a 50% success rate.) They enjoy eating the free continental breakfast downstairs barefoot, in sweats or in their swimsuits, before jumping into the pool and playing keep-away with dad.

Yep, when these hometown hicks (who reside in the boondocks halfway between Maple Rapids –population 622 and Eureka—population unknown since it isn’t even on our Michigan map) hit the hotel, ….well… out Jethro and Ellie May. We’ll give you a run for your money! We’ve ‘heard told’ that for years Webster’s dictionary defined hillbilly as a Michigan farmer. And we wear that badge proudly. (Okay, so we’re not actually farmers, but we do grow a mean herb and tomato salsa garden!)

So you can imagine how the momma hillbilly felt lugging our garage sale quality suitcases into the Hyatt hotel in beautiful, BIG, Detroit suburb Utica. She instantly noticed the marble floors, granite counters, sleek, contemporary furnishings and obvious lack of fellow hillbilly families running around in naked feet ready to jump and splash.

Nope. It was business suits, laptops and ear piece cell phones everywhere you looked. And all humans in sight had their professionally shined shoes covering the bare, but beautifully manicured feet that we knew were hiding under them somewhere.

So we straightened up and adjusted our method of operation. Well, we still let the 10 year old ride the luggage cart up to the room. We just were rather stealth about it. There were no phone calls to secure jumping permission. (They are all too big now anyway) And we did our best to blend in.


Shoes on for breakfast even! We did have to advise our boys that the fabulous display of fresh foods and goodies under glass at the front desk were not free like the cookies at that other budget hotel chain. Nope. They required a credit card swipe before being consumed. I didn’t want a repeat scenario of the time Mackenzie and Mitch, when said hillbilly mom’s back was turned, poured themselves big bowls of soup at the new grocery store salad bar thinking they were free.

We were stuck paying for $5.38 worth of clam chowder that they thought was potato soup!

At any rate, we did our best to be stealth. We waited until all lap-swimming professionals were out of the pool before starting our ball-throwing shenanigans. We enjoyed the wonderful, and deliciously filling, complementary continental breakfast that was so top-notch no one ever felt the need for any of the ‘food under glass’.

We had a glorious, family-bonding time of fun. And we weren’t even offended when upon departure we said, “We are checking out of room…..” And the sweet front desk attendant finished the statement.

“Room 302. The Ehmans,….ah yes.”


Thanks Immanuel Lutheran!!! Can we come back again some other time?

Pretty please with a crawdad on top?

Down-home blessings,



P.S. Okay, after days of anticipation, it is almost here! Tomorrow I’ll be participating in an organizational challenge area “Swap and Hop” With my friend Lysa TerKeurst. She’ll post all the instructions, the Mr. Linky linking tool and photos of her own organizational challenge area in tomorrow’s post. I will be picking some blog entries to win a book or even a possible makeover!!! Put your thinking caps on and go ahead and take some photos, if you can, of the messy areas of your home that are in desperate need of some help. Then hop on over to Lysa’s site to post them. If you aren’t able to upload and post photos, you can still participate by leaving a comment describing your organizational hot spot. We’ll spend the weekend hopping and swapping ideas to help each other solve our dilemmas. Be sure to tune in tomorrow and happy spring cleaning!!!


  1. Karen,
    When I read “Encouragement Today”, just now, I thought…..she was in my house this morning!! My husband is going through some real physical trials and I was at my wits end! I have prayed and stood and felt hopeless this morning. “Why won’t you help us” I said? Just a momentary slip, as I was immediately convicted and devastated at my accusation!!
    I was completely lifted up as I read the scriptures and your words. Then as I read some of your comments about weight loss, I really felt a connection. I too lost 85 pounds. But, after a divorce and then into rebound marriage…….put 30 back on. I’m going to lose it in Jesus name. I will exercise.
    Thanks sister. donna conner

  2. Love the post Karen! I am glad that you all enjoyed yourself and are always welcome back. Thankyou for driving so far to see us. I have never stayed at the hotel that Jolyn’s DH booked for you, and you have me curious. Blessings to you!

  3. My husband and I are more Marriott Hillbillies. We were staying at a very nice business Marriott, and when we checked in, my husband asked the clerk which side are we on for parking (like the fancy Holiday Inn at the family reunion) and she just looked at us, and said this was the only entrance. You mean, nice hotels don’t have side entrances?? And we finally stopped carrying our toiletries and shoes in Wal-mart bags. whew!
    I really enjoy your blog and am off to read my bible. Thanks for the gentle reminder to keep First things First. God bless!

  4. I’ve already registered- I am in some desperate need of some help to organize the papers that pile up on the kitchen counter. YIKES- it’s only going to get worse too as my 3 children enter school.

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