Thursday, July 19, 2007

Camping Comedy

Our family Loves camping. We try to make it out a couple of times during the summer each year. When Steve and I were first married, we bought our first tent. It was a nice two room tent that worked nicely for us for a good many years.

Our first tenting experience was an awful one! We packed up our brand new tent, some new sleeping bags, some food and paper plates. We didn’t figure that we would need many extra blankets or eating utensils. We brought along some charcoal and plenty of soda and purchased some firewood at the campsite to burn that evening. The evening went along pretty good. We grilled our hotdogs ate some chips and sat around watching the fire my brave husband built with his bare hands. He had that look of a cave man who had just beat his chest and roared out “I AM MAN!” As if starting a fire was that hard…

We talked and laughed and just simply enjoyed our first camping night out. As the night drew late, we snuggled up in the tent. Matthew and Rebecca in between us for warmth. We did not have air mattresses, just a couple of sleeping bags and 2 extra blankets.

I think I felt every dip and bump in the ground below us. Then I’d say it must have been about 4 in the morning, I woke up freezing! I was so cold, my teeth were chattering. I got up and got dressed (it was so nice out during the day I didn’t bring a jacket for anyone.) so I threw on my shorts and tee shirt and ran out to the car to warm up.

I started up the engine and sat there for a few minutes waiting for the warmth to come. Just as the car was warming up and small figure popped out of the tent and came running to the car. I giggled to myself to see Matthew running with all he could. He jumped into the car and clearly stated he did not like camping! That poor kid was just as cold as me. We sat there for quite some time. He fell back to sleep while I watched time go by on the dashboard.

After awhile my husband peeked out into the morning. It was getting light out now and Matt and I were drifting in and out of consciousness. Steve bravely made a new campfire to warm himself and grabbed a soda from the cooler. Other campers started to emerge from their hideaways, all busy making big camping breakfasts….hmm, I had not thought about what we were going to eat for breakfast! So, I convinced Steve to go down to the grocery store and get something for us to fix. He came back with pop tarts and chips! There were no grocery stores open so he had gone to a gas station to retrieve our sustenance. After eating our hearty meal of pop tarts and sodas. We waited for the dew to leave so we could pack up and go home. I was exhausted and swore off camping for good!

Sometime later, We decided to give camping another go. This time we were a bit more prepared. I packed extra clothes for cooler or warmer weather. I remembered a can opener and other essentials to making a meal complete. And yes, I even remembered to think of breakfast! This time we had a new air mattress that we had purchased from the local discount store. I brought along some extra blankets for everyone, so I was sure we would not freeze this time. We choose a better campground that had a bathroom and shower within walking distance. We were much better prepared for this adventure.

After fishing all day and playing at the beach, We retreated to our little camp area. We made a great supper and had s’mores later in the evening. We sat around the campfire and sang to the kids. I read a story to Rebecca and got her ready for bed. She dozed right off and we all eventually had a peaceful and warm nights rest.

The following morning We rose with the sun, content with the world and the beauty around us. I made a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast, then we headed off for another day of fun. That evening we took full advantage of the showers. Evidently everyone else there had the same idea.

The shower was wall to wall women and children, all waiting patiently for their turn in a shower stall. Finally our turn came to slip into our semi private stall with only a thin curtain separating us from everyone else either dressing, undressing or waiting in line. The drains had a hard time keeping up with the constant flow of water trying to force it’s way down. Needless to say, the water was rising.

Soon our partition was level with the step over just above my ankles. I finished washing Rebecca and started washing my hair. All the sudden Rebecca burst out into song, singing the Sunday school song about Noah’s Ark. The words she sang were “ The Rains came down and the floods came up, The rains came down and the floods came up. The Rains came down and the floods came up and the house came tumbling down!” Rebecca was soon silenced by a shower room full of women in laughter. It was a priceless moment which I hold dear in my heart.

The camping trips we have taken over the years have been filled with fun, laughter and bonding moments for Steve and I along with our children. We treasure the time we spend alone with our family. Even more so, now that they are all getting older. Just recently, we spent an entire week at our now favorite spot. We still use a tent and we have much better air mattresses now. We have proper cooking equipment and gear that stays packed for any weekend that we decide at the spur of a moment to just go. This has been a wonderful instrument in establishing a bond with our children and each other. All of our Children enjoy the time we spend together as a family, camping….

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Christmas to Remember

Now I know it's July 18, and a far cry for Christmas..... You see, I've just been doing some reminising and thought I would share this very special memory with you. If you happen along my blog please share in this Journey.

A Christmas to Remember
Christmas back in the early days of having our children used to be my favorite holiday to decorate, wrap gifts and celebrate as a family. We never had a lot of money and it would seem that Christmas would always just sneak up on us, leaving us with sparse morsels of would others would consider a very weak attempt.

I remember one year, I believe it was 1995. We had not had the money to buy more than one gift for each other or our two small kids. We barely had enough for a Christmas dinner either. I fretted for weeks before Christmas already. I grew depressed thinking of having nothing to celebrate with.

We did not have a tree at all. I could NOT let the kids have a Christmas without that, so I took out the Christmas lights and the staple gun. I went to work moving the furniture away from the wall were we usually put a tree. I shaped and stapled lights up on the wall and added some tinsel and bulbs. Soon we had a tree! Matthew thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Rebecca just giggled and it did my heart good to see joy in their faces.

Steve too, was feeling pretty down about this particular year. He came home from work and walked through the door and saw the tree of lights on the wall. The look on his face was one of disbelief! (I still wonder what he wanted to say about all the staple holes in the wall of our rented house…. )

I placed my sewing cabinet under the light tree. After the kids went to bed, I gingerly wrapped the few things that we had for them to open on Christmas morning and went to bed. The following day we had a special church service that I was involved in. During that service, my eyes were opened and my heart receive a word from God that presents and big meals are not was Christmas was all about. Christ was what we were celebrating! I was so ashamed at my self pity. Steve and I talked about how we both felt after the service and how our hearts were lifted.

Following church that day, we met with family and had a meal together. We came later that afternoon to find on my sewing Cabinet a whole display of gifts and in the fridge fixings for a wonderful Christmas dinner! On the table was an anonymous note just saying “Have a very Merry Christmas!” We never found out who the anonymous gift giver was, but it turned out to be the very best Christmas we ever celebrated! Not just because of the gifts, but because we learned to let go and just celebrate GOD!

Matthew and Rebecca remember that Christmas as the very best Christmas we ever had…. Now that is a precious memory.

Matthew 6:25 (New International Version)

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?