Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I was very specific. I asked the Lord if we could please go on two camping trips this summer. But as Jamie and I looked over the calendar last month and compared work schedules and the kids' activity schedules, we realized that only one trip would be realistic. I tried not to grumble and instead put on my happy face when I made reservations for one camping trip in August.

But the Lord knows the desires (and motives!) of our hearts. Even more than that, He knows what we need. I'm so thankful that He does. This past week we were given notice that our street would be paved, and we'd need to park a little ways away in order to access our vehicles.

This is when "camping" trip number two began to materialize. We realized we could park . . . at my parents' house! Their home is delightfully situated on the border of a peaceful forest, and they happen to still be visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Slovenia. Bingo.

So we packed up for a two-night stay. I marveled at the Lord's timing. I had really wanted a trip in July, and here we were at the very end of the month. I also realized that this kind of packing was so much less stressful than packing a tent and a bazillion other provisions. (Jamie greatly appreciated this, too.)

I woke up one morning to discover that Aidan and Avery had successfully found the dress-up box.

Jamie still had to work, but we found the time to be incredibly peaceful and relaxing -- so much more so than if we had forced a camping trip. We even had a campfire one night with s'mores and everything (mosquitoes included). I planned an outdoor activity each day to make it feel sort of camp-like, too. One day we visited the Washington State Vancouver campus and strolled along their beautiful paths.

Cousin Evan joined us after we had dropped the big sisters off for Middle School camp!

Yesterday we meandered through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, soaking in the quiet scenery, identifying herons and nutria and hawks.

Aidan designated himself as photographer.

If you look in the very center of the picture, sunning himself on a log is an algae-covered turtle.

He was very . . . thorough.

Why did the nutria cross the road?

But I think the most meaningful moments during our retreat were the quiet mornings on the deck. I pulled together my Bible, journal, and tea, curled up with a quilt on a lawn chair and simply lived. I sat and listened. I watched, I prayed, I delighted in God's goodness. Soon the children would join me, and we'd have brunch under the sheltering canopy of birches and maples. No schedule, no rush. Bare feet, deep breaths, peace.

At one point a house finch hopped across the railing, his vibrant orange feathers matching the geraniums exactly. They formed a perfect picture and I was suddenly overwhelmed by God's message to me: He is good, He is beautiful, He loves me and His will is perfect. This is all I need.

A sob caught in my throat. The finch took flight, and my heart soared, too.   

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  1. Ahh, reading this felt like just the escape I needed, TOO!

    1. Oh, I'm so glad you're feeling refreshed, Sarah! :)



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