My Family in the Forest

We were able to spend some time together as a family at Red Rock Bible Camp this last weekend, and it was just beautiful.

IMG_1131It’s always bittersweet to go back – we love it there so much, and it’s fun to see Anika visiting all her favorite spots, telling Kaylia all the stories of things she was too young to remember. It would have been amazing to see Kaylia and Everett growing up there, too, and yet we know we left at the right time. We love our life the way it is, and feel so blessed, but there’s just something about camp!

AnikamushroomKayliamossEverettThis was the first trail we walked on after moving out there when Anika was three years old, and I’ll never forget the sight of her little fingers stretched out over a pile of deer droppings, calling out excitedly, “Look, Mommy – grapes!!”

Oh, the treasures you find in the forest….


Fall is My Favorite

Fall is just beautiful.

When it’s fall, I think it’s my favorite season.

But then, I feel the same in spring and summer, too. (Not winter. There is no confusion for me about winter. It is beautiful, and I love some parts of it very much, but it’s not my favorite.)

So we’ll say for right now that fall is my favorite.

And my favorite place to be in fall is the Whiteshell. There is nothing like it.

That’s where we were this weekend.

We stayed at Ben’s parents’ cabin with friends, and on the drive home, Ben and I decided to make this particular weekend of September in the Whiteshell a fall tradition – kind of like people who spend Labor Day weekend at the lake. Always, each and every year.

The first weekend of fall will be our Whiteshell weekend.

We made this decision, and then sat back feeling brilliant – the way you do when you make a solid decision you’re totally proud of.

Another fall tradition for our family is a hike to Look-Out. We’ve done it every fall for the last five years, and it’s just one of those things that needs to be done.

It’s also mandatory to take a family picture with that view in the background. I love seeing how our family has changed from year to year, but that view stays the same – always amazing. (Last year’s family picture never worked out, though – click here to read about last year’s trip to Look-Out. And here’s the post from the year before, when everything went “right”!)

And even though we had enough coughing and runny noses to fill us up for the whole winter, we still had a wonderful time with our friends who joined us.

So, what about you? Where were you this weekend? And what are your mandatory requirements for fall activities? I hope you’re enjoying everything that’s bright and beautiful out there!



It’s Only Fun When You Decide It’s Fun

My goodness, what a beautiful long weekend. Who wouldn’t have fun on a weekend like this?

When I heard my brother-in-law say, “It’s only fun when you decide it’s fun,” he wasn’t talking to me, but he sure could have been.

It was a beautiful weekend, but it was a hard weekend. This is the second time we’ve gone back to camp since moving away, and it’s just hard.

There was a church service at the camp on Sunday morning, open to any cottagers or campers in the Whiteshell for the weekend, so my family went to it, like usual.

Except this time, we weren’t at camp, welcoming them there. We were the ones attending for one brief hour on a Sunday morning.

I always loved Sunday mornings at camp. And when we climbed the hill to the chapel, and I saw the view spread out before me, I kinda lost it.

When the worship team started singing, and all those summers of memories hit strong, there was no way I could keep myself from crying. There was a big part of me that was very tempted to slip into thinking, “Why did we ever leave?”

Because when you leave, it’s really easy to only remember the perfect stuff, and it’s easy to chuck reason out the window, and just wallow in the fact that something made you happy, and you can’t have it anymore.

But it’s only fun when you decide it’s fun!

Life is fun. We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves in Niverville. Life is very good here. And life was very good at camp.

I get to choose what I’m going to think about, and how I’m going to remember the good times without feeling sorry for myself that they’re over, and things are different now.

I asked Ben once if he was glad we left camp. He said, “I’m not glad we left, but we needed to.”

And I’m happy. But sometimes I need to decide that I’m happy, because change is hard.

Anika sat on a bench at camp, looking like she was about to cry. Her friends have also moved away from camp, and there was no one there to play with. It’s not the way it used to be. She came to me, asking if we could leave.

As we drove back to my parents’ cabin, past all those trees I know so well, and around the curves of the highway we’ve all memorized, I was choosing again and again not to wallow and regret.

We got back to the cabin and my parents saved the day. My dad was blowing up Canada Day balloons, and my mom was getting ready for a party.

Anika quickly forgot her sadness, and ran for the streamers.

Because it’s fun when you decide it’s fun! Oh, I hope we get really good at choosing!

*I wrote this post, and then I read this post, which is quite related, and plain fantastic.

I celebrate creativity and applaud imagination in my children mostly because the ability to create something new–to dream up a different way of doing something–means they are more guaranteed to find happiness in life. The more they create and practice building something from nothing or changing not-so-great into fabulous, the more likely they are to use creative strategies to develop solutions to challenges in their life.

It is all a choice! I hope your week is filled with wonderful, creative choices and decisions!

Is There Beauty After Camp??

I’m in pursuit of it every day.

I’ve always looked to nature for reminders of the beautiful in the midst of the ordinary, but now that I feel like I’m on a time-limit out here, I’m even more conscious of it.

We went outside on one dreary, dreary day last week. I didn’t even know if any of the pictures I took would turn out. But when I looked at them again in the evening, there was still something strange and lovely about dead leaves and a grey sky.

How does God do that?

The air was crisp and clear, and I sat there in the snow, breathing all that fresh air in, while I gazed up at the tree tops.

Does this mean Niverville might have beautiful moments, too?!

There’s nothing wrong with Niverville – we thoroughly enjoyed living there before we moved to camp. But for scenery, it can’t really compete with the Whiteshell.

And that depresses me a bit. But I keep reminding myself that it is possible to find beauty anywhere. My dad says I’ll just have to look a bit harder from now on.;)